This longitudinal study examined whether child involvement in family member substance use (i.e., getting, opening, or pouring alcoholic drinks; getting or lighting cigarettes) influenced that child’s likelihood of substance use beyond known family factors such as parental substance use and family rules. Families (N=224) with children aged 10–18 years were surveyed 7 times between 2002 and 2011.
- 34% of families reported that children had gotten or opened alcoholic drinks; 21% reported that children had gotten or lit cigarettes for family members.
- Child involvement in family use was associated with alcohol (odds ratio [OR], 4.29), cigarette (OR, 7.16), and marijuana use (OR, 7.64).
- Better family management (clear family rules, parental monitoring, and praise for good behavior) was associated with a lower likelihood of alcohol (OR, 0.27) and marijuana (OR, 0.45), but not cigarette use.
Comments: These findings are in line with other work showing that child involvement in family alcohol use predicts an increased risk of child substance use, suggesting that this practice could be a potential target for family-based interventions. Public health messaging urging parents to refrain from involving children in substance use may also be helpful in reducing teen substance use.
Sharon Levy, MD, MPH
Reference: Bailey JA, Epstein M, Steeger CM, Hill KG. Concurrent and prospective associations between substance-specific parenting practices and child cigarette, alcohol, and marijuana use. J Adolesc Health. 2018;62(6):681–687.