The Influence of Parenting Factors on Alcohol and Marijuana Use among White and Mexican American Adolescents
Background: Substance use in adolescence is associated with a vast variety of behavioral and health problems contributing to a public health burden including engagement in risky sexual practices, unwanted pregnancies, increased morbidity and mortality, violent behaviors, and school dropout, among others. The use of alcohol and marijuana in adolescence and young adulthood are risk factors for subsequent substance-related adverse effects. Parents play a key role in the prevention of substance use. This study has the aim of analyzing the influence of parenting styles used during childhood and the rearing process on alcohol and marijuana use among adolescents over time through adulthood. Results will provide information to contribute to “Ensure healthy development for all youth” which is one of the 12 Social Work Grand Challenges introduced by the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare in January (2015). According to this initiative, every year, six million young people receive treatment for severe emotional, mental, or behavioral problems. Strong evidence is needed to show how to prevent problem before they emerge and by unleashing the power of prevention, and research can contribute to help youth to become healthy and productive adults (AASWSW, 2015). For the analysis, we use the typology developed by Diane Baumrid (1971) which defines four parenting styles considering the combination of warmth and control exerted by parents: authoritative, authoritarian, neglectful, and permissive. This framework emphasizes the mechanisms behind family contextual factors impacting youth development influencing substance use. Then, we explore the association of such parenting styles stratifying by race-ethnicity considering Whites and Mexican American adolescents. Material and methods: Multilevel, hierarchical regression analysis was conducted using three waves of the Add Health Survey data (Add Health Survey), a longitudinal study of a nationally representative sample of adolescents between 11 and 19 years old enrolled in grades 7-12 in the United States over four waves. We follow longitudinally the analytic sample of 12,143 participants where 1,640 were Mexican Americans and 10,583 were White Americans. We test the hypotheses of association of alcohol and marijuana use separately considering race-ethnicity, SES, and parenting styles and stratified analysis by parenting style and race-ethnicity for three waves collected in 1995, 2001 and 2008. Results: Alcohol use: Main outcomes for alcohol use were that Mexican American adolescents had no higher rates of alcohol use at baseline and were more likely to use alcohol at the 6 years follow up compared to White adolescents. The association between family SES level and alcohol use was no different at baseline (1995) but those kids in higher family SES level have higher odds of using alcohol than those low family SES in the following six and thirteen years. Regardless of race-ethnicity, adolescents from families with authoritarian parenting style were more likely to consume alcohol at baseline while those with permissive parents are less likely to use it. Adolescents from families with authoritarian parenting style used alcohol at a higher rate in the six years follow up, while those with permissive parents had lower odds of use. Stratified analysis showed that White children whose parents were authoritarian at baseline were more likely to consume alcohol compared to those with authoritative parenting. White adolescents with permissive parenting style had fewer odds of using alcohol at baseline. Mexican and White adolescents whose parents were authoritarian were more likely to use alcohol compared to those whose parents were authoritative at the six years follow up. Mexican American and White adolescents whose parents were permissive were less likely to use alcohol than those whose parents were authoritative at the six years follow up. Marijuana use: Mexican American adolescents have higher rates of use of marijuana compared to White adolescents at baseline and at the 6 years follow up. Independent of race-ethnicity, the association between family SES level and marijuana shows that those adolescents with high family SES showed higher odds of using marijuana at the 6 and 13 years follow up. In the stratified analysis, it was found that white adolescents with higher SES had more odds of using marijuana at six years and after 13 years. Independently of race-ethnicity, adolescents from families with authoritarian and neglectful parenting style were more likely to use marijuana at baseline and less likely to consume it if their parents were permissive compared to those with authoritative parenting style. Also, those youths, whose parents were authoritarian and neglectful at baseline, were more likely to use marijuana in the six years follow up compared to those with authoritative parenting style. However, those with permissive parents had fewer odds of using it in the six years follow up and at the thirteen years follow up compared to those with authoritative parenting styles. Authoritarian parenting style was associated with worse outcomes in terms of marijuana use for White adolescents at baseline and at the six years follow up. Permissive parenting styles was associated with less odds of marijuana use for White adolescents at baseline and at the six years follow up. Also, authoritarian parenting style was associated with higher odds of using marijuana in Mexican American adolescents at the six years follow up while permissive parenting styles was found to reduce the odds of use. The most important gap in terms of risk of using marijuana was found for Mexican American adolescents who were found to have high odds of using marijuana if their parents had been authoritarian or neglectful at baseline, at the six and thirteen years follow up. Findings may be beneficial to prevention specialists in developing programs targeting Mexican American youth to enhance parenting behaviors to deter alcohol and marijuana use. Actions need to be addressed to promote management of adequate parenting styles and better parent-youth relationship for both populations.