Retrospective Reports of Perceived Parenting Style and Current Alcohol Use in a College Sample
Type of DegreeThesis
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The effects of parenting style on behavioral outcomes have been well examined in early and middle childhood. Using Baumrind’s typology of parenting (warmth and control), studies have shown that parents who report using an Authoritative parenting style (high warmth and high control) also report the most positive outcomes for their children. Conversely, parents who report using a Neglectful parenting style (low warmth and low control) report the most negative outcomes for their children. Few studies have examined the long term effects of parenting style beyond early adolescents. Those that have suggest positive outcomes such as academic success, lower drug and alcohol use, and lower problem behavior. During the late adolescents and early adulthood, alcohol drinking increases. Several models describe the development of adolescent drinking; with many pointing to the role of the environment, peers, and the family as contributing factors. However, it remains unclear as to what accounts for the varying patterns of drinking. Preliminary research on parenting style and adolescent drinking suggests that positive parenting behaviors such as high support and high control reflect the most favorable outcomes. The purpose of this study was to gain more information about the link between parenting style and young adult drinking patterns in a college sample. Undergraduates (n = 196) reported on their perception of how they were raised and their current drinking behaviors and consequences related to their drinking. Results showed that undergraduates who reported their parents as using an Authoritarian or Midrange parenting style also reported more problematic drinking patterns and more consequences related to their drinking. Linear regressions to assess which component(s) of parenting style (warmth, control, or autonomy) were predictive of drinking patterns were not significant. Stepwise regressions suggested that for the RAPI control and autonomy were predictive of drinking related problems. Overall, the results suggest that early parenting continues to affect behavior in early adulthood. More research is needed to evaluate the specific pathway by which parenting affects drinking. Implications include early interventions for drinking that include active participation of parents.