Academic journal article Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education

The Effect of Perceived Parental Approval of Drinking on Alcohol Use and Problems

Academic journal article Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education

The Effect of Perceived Parental Approval of Drinking on Alcohol Use and Problems

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The relationship between perceived parental approval of drinking and alcohol use and problems was explored with undergraduate students in a small midwestern university. Participants completed a survey measuring demographic information, perceived approval of drinking, and alcohol use and problems. Results indicated perceived parental approval of drinking was significantly related to alcohol use and problems. Path analysis demonstrated perceived parental approval of drinking affected weekly drinking quantity, alcohol use frequency, and negative consequences of alcohol indirectly through perceived friends ' approval of drinking. There was also a significant direct effect from parental approval to alcohol-use frequency. These findings suggest that parents may influence their children's drinking by mechanisms such as affecting peer selection.

INTRODUCTION

College drinking continues to be a public health concern because of the many effects the behavior can have on the lives of drinkers and those around them (Turrisi & Ray, 2010; Boyle & Boekeloo, 2006). Much effort has been made to identify modifiable factors associated with negative consequences of alcohol use among college students. Factors identified include alcohol expectancies, drinking motivations, stress and coping, and peer influence (Borsari, Murphy, & Barnett, 2007; Ham & Hope, 2003). A factor that shows promise, but which has not received adequate attention with college populations, is parental influence. Although entrance into college is generally associated with increased autonomy (Borsari, Murphy, & Barnett, 2007), recent research in the area of parental influence on college drinking indicates parents do still matter after their children have left the home to attend school (Fairlie, Wood, & Laird, 2012; Turrisi & Ray, 2010; Abar, Abar, & Turrisi, 2009; Walls, Fairlie, & Wood, 2009; Boyle & Boekeloo, 2006; Wood, Read, Mitchell, & Brand, 2004). Parents remain active in the plans of students as they prepare for and move off to college, maintaining influence across several domains, including social and health information (Abar & Turrisi, 2008).

A form of parental influence of particular interest to this proposed study is perceived parental approval of drinking, or the extent to which a child perceives his or her parents as approving of alcohol use. Perceived parental approval of alcohol use has been shown to directly predict alcohol related consequences among adolescents (Stice, Barrera, & Chassin, 1998). This line of research has resulted in parent-based intervention efforts to prevent or reduce adolescent drinking (Turrisi et al., 2001). There is a growing body of literature indicating parent-based interventions may reduce negative consequences of alcohol use among college students. Although peers do matter more (Borsari & Carey, 2001), these results are encouraging.

A limitation of existing research on the relationship between perceived parental approval of drinking and negative consequences of alcohol use is that it focuses on the periods of pre-matriculation and freshman year. This is probably due to the fact that the transition from high school to college is a period where alcohol use and problems tend to peak for many students. Understanding how the relationship between perceived parental approval of drinking and negative consequences of alcohol use plays out beyond the first year of college might have important implications for parent-based interventions.

Hypothesis

It was hypothesized that higher perceived parental approval of alcohol use would be positively correlated with negative consequences of alcohol use. Given that previous research has suggested parents can influence their children's alcohol use indirectly by influencing peer selection (Borsari, Murphy, & Barnett, 2007), a path analysis model was used to determine if the effects of perceived parental approval of alcohol use were partially or fully mediated by perceived friends' approval of alcohol use. …

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