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"Do as I say and not as I do!". Adolescent alcohol use: The impact of parental attitudes and behaviors

Frieda Fowler, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The current study investigated the relationship between adolescent drinking behavior and parental influences. The study involved three theories: social learning, reasoned action and social control. Information was received from 756 parents and their adolescents residing in a midwestern state. Using data from adolescents and their parents, I examined the influence of parental alcohol-related attitudes and behaviors (supportive attitudes and parental alcohol consumption) on alcohol involvement by their offspring at three different time frames. ^ Results from correlation analysis and logistic regressions supported theory of reasoned action and social control theory over learning theory. Both adolescents' perceptions of parental expectations and parental supervision were significant predictors of adolescent drinking behavior. Additional analyses were undertaken to explore possible developmental differences between younger and older adolescents. Not only are older adolescents significantly and substantially more likely to drink, older adolescents' alcohol behaviors are more sensitive to parental supervision and parental attitudes. Parental drinking behavior is not hypocritical: as measured, parental drinking has little effect on adolescent drinking. Implications for future studies and policy interventions are discussed. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Behavioral|Health Sciences, Public Health|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

Recommended Citation

Fowler, Frieda, ""Do as I say and not as I do!". Adolescent alcohol use: The impact of parental attitudes and behaviors" (2003). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3092538.