Direct and indirect links between parenting styles, self-concealment (secrets), impaired control over drinking and alcohol-related outcomes

Addict Behav. 2015 Jan;40:102-8. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.08.009. Epub 2014 Sep 6.


Introduction: Self-concealment reflects uncomfortable feelings, thoughts, and information people have about themselves that they avoid telling others (Larson & Chastain, 1990). According to Larson and Chastain (1990) these secrets range from the slightly embarrassing to the very distressing with an individual's most traumatic experiences often concealed. Parental attitudes including those involving self-disclosure are thought to be expressed in their choice of parenting style (Brand, Hatzinger, Beck, & Holsboer-Trachsler, 2009). The specific aim of this investigation was to examine the direct and indirect influences of parenting styles on self-concealment, impaired control over drinking (i.e. the inability to stop drinking when intended), alcohol use (quantity/frequency), and alcohol-related problems.

Methods: A structural equation model with 419 (223 men, 196 women) university students was examined. Two and three path mediated effects were examined with the bias corrected bootstrap technique in Mplus.

Results: Having an authoritarian mother was directly linked to more self-concealment, while having an authoritative father was directly linked to less self-concealment. Higher levels of mother authoritarianism were indirectly linked to both increased alcohol use and alcohol-related problems through more self-concealment and more impaired control over drinking. Moreover, higher levels of father authoritativeness were indirectly linked to less alcohol use and alcohol-related problems through less self-concealment and less impaired control over drinking.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that parenting styles influence vulnerabilities such as self-concealment in the impaired control over the drinking pathway to alcohol use and alcohol-related problems.

Keywords: Alcohol use; Drinking control; Mediation; Parental influences.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcoholism / psychology*
  • Authoritarianism*
  • Fathers*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Male
  • Mothers*
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Permissiveness*
  • Self Disclosure*
  • Young Adult