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Monday, June 18, 2012

The influence of paternal and maternal drinking patterns within two-partner families on the initiation and development of adolescent drinking

As it is still unclear to what extent parental drinking is a predictor of children's alcohol use, we tested the association of specific paternal and maternal drinking patterns and both initiation and development of adolescent alcohol use.

Longitudinal data (four annual measurements) of parent–child dyads (N = 2,319) have been used. Parental drinking patterns have been identified using latent class analysis. The associations of parental drinking patterns and the initiation and development of 12–15 year olds' drinking have been examined with latent growth curve modeling.

Only two out of six parental drinking patterns were related to adolescent drinking. That is, having a heavy drinking father or two heavy episodic drinking parents particularly predicts early and heavier adolescent drinking.

When controlled for parenting behaviors and background variables, such as adolescent gender, age and socioeconomic status (SES), these findings remained significant.

Interaction analyses revealed that the influence of parental heavy (episodic) drinking differs across gender and is especially strong among adolescents with lower SES.

Thus, parental heavy (episodic) drinking, and not so much the frequency of drinking, predicts initiation and development of alcohol consumption in their offspring.

Parents and professionals must be aware that parental heavy drinking affects their offspring, particularly in adolescents with lower SES, resulting in earlier and heavier drinking among this high-risk group.

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