Concurrent and Prospective Associations Between Substance-Specific Parenting Practices and Child Cigarette, Alcohol, and Marijuana Use



      The current study aimed to understand whether substance-specific parenting practices predicted the probability of child alcohol, cigarette, or marijuana use beyond known family factors like family management and parental substance use and norms.


      Data were drawn from the Intergenerational Project, which used an accelerated longitudinal design and included 383 families surveyed seven times between 2002 and 2011. Analyses included 224 families with children ages 10–18 years (49% female). Multilevel models tested both concurrent and lagged (predictors at time t − 1, outcomes at time t) associations between child past year use of alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana and time-varying measures of substance-specific parenting practices, including permitting child use of alcohol or cigarettes; family rules about alcohol, cigarette, and drug use; and child involvement in family member alcohol or cigarette use (getting, opening, or pouring alcoholic drinks; getting or lighting cigarettes for family members). Demographic controls were included.


      Child involvement in family member substance use predicted an increased probability of child substance use both concurrently and 1 year later, even when controlling parent substance use, pro-substance norms, and family management. Family rules about substance use and parent provision of alcohol or cigarettes were not consistently related to child alcohol, cigarette, or marijuana use.


      Family-based preventive interventions to reduce youth substance use should continue to focus on family management and include messaging discouraging parents from allowing children to get, open, or pour drinks or get or light cigarettes for family members.


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