Parent, peer and personal determinants of adolescent drinking

Br J Addict. 1989 Jun;84(6):619-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.1989.tb03477.x.


This study examined direct and indirect influences of parents and peers on adolescent drinking. One hundred and six adolescents, their parents and a same-sex best friend of the adolescent each completed measures that tapped actual and perceived drinking behaviour, and normative standards for alcohol use. Of methodological interest was that adolescents of both sexes provided accurate reports of their parents' and peer's drinking, as well as drinking norms. Path analyses revealed different effects for male and female adolescents. Strongest predictors of alcohol use for males were their perceptions of their father's and mother's drinking, and their father's actual drinking. Best friend's drinking was positively related to the adolescent males' perceptions of themselves as a drinker. The single predictor of their internalized norms was the perception adolescent males had of their friend's drinking. Significantly, the adolescent male's own norms predicted how much and what they drank. For adolescent females, how much they believed their best friend drank, and their friend's normative standards, were the strongest predictors of alcohol use. Father's drinking also influenced the drinking practices of daughters, but mothers had no impact on their daughters' alcohol use. In contrast to young males, females' personal preferences or liking of alcohol successfully predicted most of their drinking behaviour.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Imitative Behavior*
  • Male
  • Peer Group*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Facilitation*