Children of African-American mothers who use crack cocaine: parenting influences on youth substance use

J Pediatr Psychol. 2007 Sep;32(8):877-87. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsm015. Epub 2007 May 23.


Objective: To examine relationships between parenting behaviors, parent-child relationship, and moderating effects of age on youth substance use among a community sample of African-American mothers who use crack cocaine and their children (12-17 years).

Methods: Maternal-child dyads (n = 208) were recruited through street outreach and snowball sampling and completed interviews about substance use and parenting.

Results: Regression analyses found significant main effects of youth age, family conflict, warmth, and disapproval of youth substance use on children's substance use. Age x Parenting interactions were significant for conflict and disapproval. Higher family conflict increased older youths' risk, while higher perceived maternal disapproval protected against substance use for older youth.

Conclusions: Family influences may offer risk and protective effects for adolescent children of maternal drug users. Outreach and family-focused interventions that address family conflict and communication of disapproval of substance use may help reduce intergenerational risk transmission. However, longitudinal research with comprehensive parenting assessments is needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / ethnology*
  • Crack Cocaine*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Mothers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Parenting*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control


  • Crack Cocaine