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J Adolesc Health. 2005 Jul;37(1):19-28.

Pathways to adolescent alcohol use: family environment, peer influence, and parental expectations.

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Department of Family and Community Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77098, USA.



This study was conducted to examine the relationships among family environment, peer influence, stress, self-efficacy, and adolescent alcohol use and to test for the potential moderating effects of parental expectations regarding adolescent alcohol use.


Data were obtained from questionnaires completed by high school students (n = 2573) participating in a longitudinal study of substance use and other problem behaviors. Variables were lagged across three time points to reflect a causal sequence relating family environment to adolescent alcohol use through self-efficacy, peer influence, and stress. A latent measure of family environment included adolescents' perceptions of parental acceptance, parental monitoring, and communication with parents. The latent measure of peer influence included use of alcohol by same-age peers and friends and friends' approval of alcohol use. Observed scale scores were used for self-efficacy and stress measures, and the latent measure of alcohol behaviors included quantity, frequency, and associated problems.


Structural equation modeling indicated good model fit, chi(2) (144) = 831.69, p < .001, comparative fit index (CFI) = .992, root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) = .043 (.040, .046). Family environment exerted significant indirect effects on adolescent alcohol use through peer influence, self-efficacy, and stress, and parental expectations significantly moderated all structural paths.


Parental expectations of adolescent alcohol use significantly moderated all structural relationships, and greater parental disapproval was associated with less involvement with friends and peers who use alcohol, less peer influence to use alcohol, greater self-efficacy for avoiding alcohol use, and lower subsequent alcohol use and related problems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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