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J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2009 Mar;70(2):215-26.

Mediational links among parenting styles, perceptions of parental confidence, self-esteem, and depression on alcohol-related problems in emerging adulthood.

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Department of Psychological Science, Missouri University of Science and Technology (formerly University of Missouri-Rolla), Humanities and Social Sciences Building Number 111, 500 West 14th Street, Rolla, Missouri 65409-1270, USA.



Depression is often found to be comorbid with alcohol-related problems. Parental overprotection, which may be of particular importance during emerging adulthood, has been linked to internalizing symptoms in offspring. This article evaluates the impact of parenting styles and parental confidence in their offspring on an internalizing pathway to alcohol-related problems through self-esteem and depression.


Mediational links were tested among parenting styles (authoritative, authoritarian, permissive), parental confidence (overprotection, autonomy), self-esteem, depression, and alcohol-related problems. A two-group, multiple indicator multiple-cause structural equation model with 441 (216 female, 225 male) college students was examined.


Overall, having a father who was confident in his child's ability to make autonomous decisions was protective against depression for both genders. Perceptions of paternal autonomy mediated the impact of the fathers' parenting styles (authoritative, permissive) on depression for both genders. For men, parental overprotection mediated the impact of an authoritarian father on self-esteem, and self-esteem mediated the impact of parental overprotection on depression. Moreover, among men, perceptions of maternal autonomy mediated the impact of the mothers' parenting styles (authoritative, permissive) on self-esteem, and self-esteem mediated the impact of maternal autonomy on depression.


The current pattern of findings is distinct from pathways through behavioral undercontrol with influences from the same-sex parent for both genders. These findings indicate that parenting may have differential influences on internalizing pathways to alcohol-related problems.

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