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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2014 May 1;138:185-92. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.02.705. Epub 2014 Mar 13.

Which parenting style is more protective against adolescent substance use? Evidence within the European context.

Author information

1
European Institute of Studies on Prevention (Irefrea), Rambla 15, 2° - 3(a), 07003 Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Electronic address: irefrea@irefrea.org.
2
Department of Methodology of the Behavioral Sciences, Faculty of Psychology, University of Valencia, Av. Blasco Ibáñez, 21, 46010 Valencia, Spain.
3
European Institute of Studies on Prevention (Irefrea), Rambla 15, 2° - 3(a), 07003 Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
4
Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, Faculty of Psychology, University of Santiago de Compostela, Rúa José María Suárez Núñez (Campus sur) s/n, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain.
5
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, University of Oviedo, Plaza Feijoo s/n, 33003 Oviedo, Spain.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

This study examines whether authoritative parenting style (characterized by warmth and strictness) is more protective against adolescent substances use than authoritarian (strictness but not warmth), indulgent (warmth but not strictness) and neglectful (neither warmth nor strictness) parenting styles. Emergent research in diverse cultural contexts (mainly Southern European and Latin American countries) questions the fact that authoritative would always be the optimum parenting style.

DESIGN:

Multi-factorial MANOVAs.

PARTICIPANTS:

A sample of 7718 adolescents, 3774 males (48.9%), 11-19 year-olds (M=14.63 year-olds, SD=1.9 years) from Sweden, United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic.

MEASUREMENTS:

Parenting style dimensions (warmth and strictness) and adolescent substance use (alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs); additionally another three adolescent outcomes were also measured (self-esteem, school performance and personal disturbances) all of them related in the literature with substance use.

FINDINGS:

Both indulgent and authoritative parenting styles were associated with better outcomes than authoritarian and neglectful parenting in all the countries studied. Overall, our results support the idea that in Europe the indulgent parenting style performs as well as the authoritative one since adolescents' scores in the youth outcomes were equal (on substance use and personal disturbances) or even better (on self esteem and school performance) than for authoritative parenting style.

CONCLUSIONS:

Parenting styles relate to substance use and other outcomes in the same way in different countries explored. The so-called indulgent parenting style appears to be as good as the authoritative in protecting against substance abuse.

KEYWORDS:

Family socialization; Parental strictness; Parental warmth; Parenting styles; Youth outcomes; Youth substances use

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