Adolescent drinking behaviour and family socialization factors: a meta-analysis

J Adolesc. 1991 Sep;14(3):255-73. doi: 10.1016/0140-1971(91)90020-r.


Family socialization processes are important influences on behaviour in childhood and adolescence. Two major dimensions of family socialization are Support and Control, and these two dimensions were assessed for their influence on adolescent drinking behaviour. Thirty recently published research studies, which reported the influence of (clearly identifiable) family socialization variables on (self-reported) adolescent drinking behaviour were selected for analysis. The results of these studies were subjected to meta-analysis using a sorting technique. Variables were sorted along the dimensions of Support and Control, and along a Family Structure dimension, which measured parental intactness. Results of the meta-analysis indicated a clear negative linear relationship between Support and adolescent drinking. There was also a negative linear relationship between Control and drinking behaviour. Thus low support and lax control were associated with increased drinking. However, there was some evidence of a possible curvilinear relationship between control and adolescent drinking. A negative relationship between Family Structure and adolescent drinking was also found, i.e. adolescents from non-intact families tend to drink more. The results were incorporated into a family systems perspective. It is suggested that extremes of Support and Control, when measured adequately, may be dysfunctional for adequate socialization into normal drinking behaviour, as defined by social and cultural norms, during adolescence.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Family / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Personality Development*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Support
  • Socialization*