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Addict Behav. 2012 Nov;37(11):1248-56. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2012.06.005. Epub 2012 Jun 12.

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

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  • 1Trimbos Institute (Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction), P.O. Box 725, 3500 AS Utrecht, The Netherlands.


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 with both initiation and development of adolescent alcohol use. Longitudinal data (four annual measurements) of parent-child dyads (N=2319) have been used. Parental drinking patterns have been identified using latent class analysis. The association of parental drinking patterns with 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 the initiation and development of alcohol consumption in their offspring. Parents and professionals must be aware that parental heavy drinking affects their offspring, particularly adolescents with lower SES, resulting in earlier and heavier drinking among this high-risk group.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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