The link between mother and adolescent substance use: inter-generational findings from the British Cohort Study
Keywords:parental substance use, mothers, adolescents, alcohol, drinking, marijuana/cannabis, tobacco
The objective of this study was to identify mother, family, and individual factors associated with adolescent alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use, using mother and child self-reports. Adolescents aged 12-15 (N=276) and their mothers, who were participants in the British Cohort Study (BCS; born 1970), were both surveyed when mothers were 34 years old. Predictors included mothers’ substance use as well as characteristics of the child (gender, age, conduct problems) and family (social class, two-parent family, parent-adolescent conflict). Outcome variables were adolescent alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use. Child characteristics were predictive, with older children more likely to engage in all behaviors. After controlling for other predictors, mothers’ current drinking frequency and problems predicted adolescent reports of ever drinking and of drinking sometimes/regularly; mothers’ marijuana use was a marginally significant predictor of adolescent marijuana use. Results suggest that mothers’ substance use is an important component of adolescent use, even after accounting for characteristics of the child and the intergenerational family context.
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