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Study Finds Parents of a Teen’s Friends Influence Substance Use

Teens are notorious for rebelling against parents. However, when it comes to making decisions about substance use and abuse, a recently published study indicates that adolescents may still be significantly influenced by not only their own parents, but also the parents of their friends.

In the article “Do Peers' Parents Matter? A New Link Between Positive Parenting and Adolescent Substance Use” published in the The Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, authors Michael J. Cleveland, Mark E. Feinberg, D. Wayne Osgood and James Moody drew on conceptions of shared parenting and the tenets of coercion theory to investigate the extent to which three domains of parenting behaviors (parental knowledge, inductive reasoning, and consistent discipline) influenced the alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use of not only their own adolescent children but also of members of their adolescents' friendship groups. In addition, the article discusses implications of the joint contribution of parents and peers for prevention and intervention.

Among the study’s findings:

  • Adolescent substance use in 10th grade was significantly related to parenting behaviors of friends' parents
  • Significant interaction effects indicated that these relationships were strongest when adolescents received positive parenting at home
  • Some, but not all, of the main effects of friends' parents' parenting became non-significant after friends' substance use in ninth grade was included in the model

These findings suggest that the parenting style employed in adolescents' friends' homes plays an integral role in determining adolescent substance use.

The article abstract is available for free viewing here; the full article may be downloaded from that page for $15.

Brooke Preston is an Acting Digital Account Executive at Prichard Communications, where she creates strategies and content for a number of clients including Reclaiming Futures. Brooke is a seasoned writer, editor and content consultant whose background is centered in journalism, nonprofit communications and brand development counsel. Brooke received a B.S.S. in Music and Media Studies from Ohio University. 





*Photo at top by Flickr user afagen