The influence of families on early adolescent school connectedness: evidence that this association varies with adolescent involvement in peer drinking networks

J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2012 Apr;40(3):437-47. doi: 10.1007/s10802-011-9577-4.


School connectedness is central to the long term well-being of adolescents, and high quality parent-child relationships facilitate school connectedness. This study examined the extent to which family relationship quality is associated with the school connectedness of pre- and early teenagers, and how this association varies with adolescent involvement in peer drinking networks. The sample consisted of 7,372 10-14 year olds recruited from 231 schools in 30 Australian communities. Participants completed the Communities that Care youth survey. A multi-level model of school connectedness was used, with a random term for school-level variation. Key independent variables included family relationship quality, peer drinking networks, and school grade. Control variables included child gender, sensation seeking, depression, child alcohol use, parent education, and language spoken at home. For grade 6 students, the association of family relationship quality and school connectedness was lower when peer drinking networks were present, and this effect was nonsignificant for older (grade 8) students. Post hoc analyses indicated that the effect for family relationship quality on school connectedness was nonsignificant when adolescents in grade 6 reported that the majority of friends consumed alcohol. The results point to the importance of family-school partnerships in early intervention and prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Educational Status
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Peer Group*
  • Prevalence
  • Schools
  • Social Behavior
  • Students / psychology*