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Am J Addict. 2008 Nov-Dec;17(6):469-77. doi: 10.1080/10550490802408795.

Stress-induced drinking in parents of adolescents with externalizing symptomatology: the moderating role of parent social support.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85287-1104, USA. elizabeth.handley@asu.edu


Parenting adolescents with externalizing symptomatology has been repeatedly shown to be stress-inducing for parents. One possible coping strategy for parents dealing with this chronic stress may be drinking. The current study extended previous research by examining the prospective relations between adolescents' externalizing behaviors and parents' negative affect and alcohol consumption. Additionally, the present study tested whether this mediated effect is a function of parental social support. Adolescents' externalizing symptoms prospectively predicted mothers' negative affect. Interestingly, however, mothers' negative affect prospectively predicted mothers' drinking only for those mothers with low social support. Furthermore, the mediated effect (Wave 1 adolescent externalizing symptoms --> Wave 2 mother negative affect --> Wave 3 mother drinking) was significant only for mothers with low social support. There were no effects of adolescents' externalizing symptoms on fathers.

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