Alcohol-specific parenting as a mechanism of parental drinking and alcohol use disorder risk on adolescent alcohol use onset

Elizabeth D. Handley, Laurie Chassin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The primary aim of the current study was to examine three dimensions of alcohol-specific parenting (anti-alcohol parenting strategies, parental legitimacy in regulating adolescent drinking, and parental disclosure of negative alcohol experiences) as mechanisms in the prospective relations between parental drinking and alcohol use disorder (recovered, current, and never diagnosed) and adolescent alcohol use initiation. Method: Participants were from an ongoing longitudinal study of the intergenerational transmission of alcoholism. Structural equation modeling was used to test a maternal model (n = 268 adolescents and their mothers) and a paternal model (n = 204 adolescents and their fathers) of alcohol-specific parenting. Results: Results indicated that higher levels of drinking among mothers and current alcohol use disorder among fathers were related to more frequent parental disclosure of personal negative experiences with alcohol. Maternal disclosure of negative alcohol experiences mediated the effect of maternal drinking on adolescent onset of alcohol use such that more disclosure predicted a greater likelihood of adolescent drinking initiation at follow-up over and above general parenting. In addition, currently alcoholic mothers were perceived as having less legitimate authority to regulate adolescent drinking, and low levels of legitimacy among fathers was predictive of drinking onset among adolescents. Conclusions: Alcohol-specific parenting is a distinct and infl uential predictor of adolescent alcohol use initiation that is partially shaped by parents' own drinking experiences. Moreover, parental conversations about their own personal experiences with alcohol may not represent a form of parent-child communication about drinking that deters adolescent drinking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)684-693
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of studies on alcohol and drugs
Volume74
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2013

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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