Preventing tick-bites among children in Indiana, USA: An analysis of factors associated with parental protective behaviors

Document Type


Publication Date



Despite evidence to the effect that there is low parental adoption of tick-bite personal protective behavior (PPB) for their children – a population at high risk for tick exposure, very limited information is available on factors associated with parental adoption of PPB. The objective of this study was to identify the most significant factors associated with parental adoption of tick-bite PPB on behalf of a child or children at risk of tick encounters. A cross-section of parents in Indiana, USA whose child had spent time outdoors in tick habitat during the summer were recruited from representative online panels maintained by Qualtrics. Binary logistic regression was used to model determinants of five tick-bite PPBs. Our results revealed that the application of tick repellent (89 %, n = 718) followed by conducting a tick check of the child's body soon after returning from the outdoors (84 %, n = 676) were the PPBs most frequently adopted by parents. Conversely, tucking one's shirt into pants and pants into socks was the least frequently adopted PPB (48 %, n = 386). Compared to other factors evaluated in logistic regression models, parents who reported implementing one or more residential tick control practices were significantly more likely to adopt nearly all five tick-bite PPBs for their children. Additionally, parents who were more worried about their health due to ticks and reported being more likely to avoid the outdoors because of ticks were more likely to adopt at least three PPBs on behalf of their children. To ensure children can most safely engage in outdoor activity, identifying the factors associated with parental adoption of tick-bite preventive behaviors represents an important mechanism in the prevention of tick-borne diseases.

Publication Title

Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases





Digital Object Identifier (DOI)