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Pers Individ Dif. 2011 Aug 1;51(3):285-292.

Parent-Child Engagement in Decision Making and the Development of Adolescent Affective Decision Capacity and Binge Drinking.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Brain and Creativity Institute, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.


The goal of this study was to investigate how parents' engagement of their child in everyday decision-making influenced their adolescent's development on two neuropsychological functions, namely, affective decision-making and working memory, and its effect on adolescent binge-drinking behavior.We conducted a longitudinal study of 192 Chinese adolescents. In 10(th) grade, the adolescents were tested for their affective decision-making ability using the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) and working memory capacity using the Self-ordered Pointing Test (SOPT). Questionnaires were used to assess perceived parent-child engagement in decision-making, academic performance and drinking behavior. At one-year follow-up, the same neuropsychological tasks and questionnaires were repeated.Results indicate that working memory and academic performance were uninfluenced by parent-child engagement in decision-making. However, compared to adolescents whose parents made solitary decisions for them, adolescents engaged in everyday decision-making showed significant improvement on affective decision capacity and significantly less binge-drinking one year later.These findings suggest that parental engagement of children in everyday decision-making might foster the development of neurocognitive functioning relative to affective decision-making and reduce adolescent substance use behaviors.

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