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Parenting Style, Religiosity, Peers, and Adolescent Heavy Drinking

Stephen J. Bahr, John P. Hoffmann

Objective: The purpose of this research was to examine whether authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent, and neglectful parenting styles were associated with adolescent alcohol use and heavy drinking, after controlling for peer use, religiosity, and other relevant variables. Method: Structural equation modeling was used to estimate direct and indirect associations of parenting style with alcohol use and heavy drinking among 4,983 adolescents in Grades 7-12. Results: Adolescents whose parents were authoritative were less likely to drink heavily than adolescents from the other three parenting styles, and they were less likely to have close friends who used alcohol. In addition, religiosity was negatively associated with heavy drinking after controlling for other relevant variables. Conclusions: Authoritative parenting appears to have both direct and indirect associations with the risk of heavy drinking among adolescents. Authoritative parenting, where monitoring and support are above average, might help deter adolescents from heavy alcohol use, even when adolescents have friends who drink. In addition, the data suggest that the adolescent's choice of friends may be an intervening variable that helps explain the negative association between authoritative parenting and adolescent heavy drinking. (J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs, 71, 539-543, 2010)