The association between problematic parental substance use and adolescent substance use in an ethnically diverse sample of 9th and 10th graders

J Prim Prev. 2013 Dec;34(6):381-93. doi: 10.1007/s10935-013-0326-z.


Adolescents of parents who use substances are at an increased risk for substance use themselves. Both parental monitoring and closeness have been shown to mediate the relationship between parents' and their adolescents' substance use. However, we know little about whether these relationships vary across different substances used by adolescents. Using structural equation modeling, we examined these associations within a racially and ethnically diverse sample of 9th and 10th graders (N = 927). Path analyses indicated that maternal closeness partially mediated the association between maternal problematic substance use and adolescent alcohol use. Parental monitoring partially mediated the relationship between paternal problematic substance use and adolescent alcohol, cigarette, marijuana, inhalant, and illicit prescription drug use. These results were consistent across gender and race/ethnicity. These findings suggest that parental interventions designed to increase closeness and monitoring may help to reduce adolescent substance use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Alcoholism / etiology
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Child of Impaired Parents / psychology*
  • Child of Impaired Parents / statistics & numerical data
  • Continental Population Groups / psychology
  • Continental Population Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Data Collection
  • Ethnic Groups / psychology
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse / epidemiology
  • Marijuana Abuse / etiology
  • Marijuana Abuse / psychology
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / etiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology