Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Effects of Parental Monitoring and Peer Deviance on Substance Use and Delinquency

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Effects of Parental Monitoring and Peer Deviance on Substance Use and Delinquency

Article excerpt

From socialization theory, it was hypothesized that parental support and monitoring as well as peer deviance would influence individual trajectories of alcohol misuse, other substance use, and delinquency. Six waves of data were analyzed using interviews with 506 adolescents in a general population sample. Results from multilevel modeling showed that monitoring significantly predicted adolescents' initial levels (intercepts) of alcohol misuse and delinquency. Parental monitoring strongly predicted the rates of increase (slope) in all 3 problem behaviors. Peer deviance significantly predicted initial levels of all problem behaviors and the rates of increase in them. This study provides evidence that both effective parenting and avoidance of associations with delinquent peers are important factors in preventing adolescent problem behaviors.

Key Words: adolescence, alcohol misuse, delinquency, parental monitoring, peer deviance, substance use.

Alcohol misuse, illicit substance use, and delinquency increase during adolescence. Furthermore, these behaviors have been shown to co-occur constituting what has been called a syndrome of problem behaviors (Donovan & lessor, 1985; lessor, Donovan, & Costa, 1991). Although many adolescents with problem behaviors phase out of this pattern of behavior as they acquire stable roles in young adulthood (Bachman et al., 2002; Moffitt, 1993), many young people with an early pattern of drinking, other substance use, or antisocial behavior set a course for persistent problems later in adulthood (Grant & Dawson, 1997; Moffitt). Thus, developing a better understanding of which factors have the potential to change the upward trajectory of problem behaviors in adolescence is critically important for prevention and social policy. Comprehensive reviews document the numerous risk and protective factors associated adolescent alcohol use (e.g., Windle, 1999), substance use (e.g., Hawkins, Catalano, & Miller, 1992), and delinquency (e.g., Hawkins, 1996). From the large body of research on adolescent problem behaviors, parental and peer influences are among the most widely cited predictive factors. Our theoretical model depicts the central importance of the parental and peer socialization process in the development of adolescent alcohol misuse and related problem behaviors after taking into account key sociodemograhic factors, such as gender, age, and race, and individual factors, such as adolescent temperament and family history of alcohol abuse (see elaboration of the model in Barnes, 1990; Barnes & Farrell, 1992).

Family Socialization Factors

On the basis of classical family theory and decades of empirical research (e.g., Barnes & Farrell, 1992; Farrell & Barnes, 2000; Rollins & Thomas, 1979), two key constructs, parental support and control, have been found to be critically important in the family socialization/parenting process. Parental support is denned as parental behaviors toward the child, such as praising, encouraging, giving affection, which convey to the child that she or he is valued and loved. Conceptually related terms include nurturance, affection, cohesion, acceptance, and open communication. The parental control dimension includes parental behaviors toward the child that are intended to direct the child's behavior in a manner acceptable to the parent. Positive control attempts include the related concepts of discipline, supervision, and monitoring of adolescent behavior (Barnes & Farrell; Farrell & Barnes, 2000; Rollins & Thomas). Parental support and control are viewed as common factors that influence multiple, co-occurring adolescent behaviors: alcohol misuse, other substance use, and delinquent behaviors (Barnes & Farrell). Using a three-wave structural equation model, we showed that the sequencing of these two parenting behaviors on alcohol misuse occurred as follows. Higher levels of Wave 1 family support predicted increased levels of Wave 2 monitoring (also characterized as adolescents' receptivity to be monitored); these two parenting factors predicted decreased levels of Wave 3 alcohol misuse. …

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