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Am J Addict. 2011 May-Jun;20(3):212-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1521-0391.2011.00129.x. Epub 2011 Mar 17.

The effects of parental diagnosis and changing family norms on alcohol use and related problems among urban American Indian adolescents.

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Tri-Ethnic Center for Prevention Research, Department of Psychology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1876, USA.


This study investigated the role of parental diagnosis of alcohol abuse/dependence and perceived family norms for adolescent drinking on alcohol use and alcohol-related problems among urban American Indian youth. A total of 251 urban, American Indian youth and their parents/caregivers were followed from ages 13 to 18. Perceived family norms against alcohol decreased and alcohol use increased from ages 13 to 18. Relative to no parental diagnosis, youth with one or two parents diagnosed with alcohol abuse/dependence were less likely to perceive family norms against alcohol use. Youth with two parents diagnosed were more likely to report alcohol-related problems at age 18 compared to no parental diagnosis. Faster rates of decrease in perceived family norms against alcohol use were associated with faster increases in alcohol use over time. Higher rates of perceived family norms against alcohol use protected youth from high rates of use at age 13, but higher rates of alcohol use at age 13 predicted more alcohol-related problems at age 18. These results suggest that both family history and family behaviors in the form of communication of norms for adolescent alcohol use are likely to impact both rates of use and eventual alcohol-related problems. 

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