Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

May 1998


Published in Journal of Marriage and the Family 60 (May 1998): 356–373.
Copyright © 1998 National Council of Family Relations; published by Blackwell Publishing. Used by permission.


This study included 199 White mother-adolescent dyads and 144 White father-adolescent dyads. All adolescents reported regular alcohol use, yet less than one third of parents were aware of their adolescents’ drinking. Parental awareness of adolescent alcohol use served to protect adolescents by moderating the relation of parents’ responsiveness to episodes of drinking and driving. Aware parents were more likely than unaware parents to believe their adolescents’ close friends drank alcohol. Aware mothers worried more about their adolescents’ risk behaviors and discussed them more frequently with their adolescents. Aware fathers held values less disapproving of adolescent alcohol use and were less apt to perceive their community as supportive.