Heterogeneous Association Between Parent and Adolescent Alcohol Use in One- and Two-Parent Households
Method ADD health collects data from a nationally representative sample of adolescents in grades 7-12 during the 1945-95 school years. Adolescent alcohol use is measured by a dichotomous variable as the dependent variable (1 for having alcohol use experience in adolescence and 0 for no). We use a four-level Likert scale of parental drinking frequency and the household type as the independent variable. The levels of parental drinking frequency are once a month or less, two or three days a month, above once or twice a week and never have alcohol drinking. Household types include two-parent household (coded as 1) and one-parent household (coded as 0). In logistic regression, we control for extensive demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, such as age, sex, race, educational attainment, employment, welfare status, smoking behavior, and household income.
Results About 55% of adolescents have alcohol use experiences in the sample. Seven out of ten adolescents live in two-parent households. 13.7% of parents drink alcohol above once or twice a week, 10.1% of parents drink alcohol two or three days a month, 32.2% of parent drink alcohol once or less a month and 44.1% of parents never drink alcohol. This study confirms a strong and positive association between parental alcohol use and adolescent alcohol use. Children whose parents drink less than three days a month have an odd of drinking about 1.5 times of that for children whose parents never drink, and those whose parents drink once or twice a week have an odd of drinking about 1.9 times of that for children whose parents never drink. The interaction between parental alcohol use and household type has a significant and positive association with the probability of adolescent alcohol use, indicating that parent alcohol use may have a greater association with adolescent alcohol use in two-parent households.
Conclusion Findings of the study indicate the importance of considering the role of household types in developing effective interventions on adolescent alcohol use. Future research is suggested to focus on explaining the heterogeneous association between parent and adolescent alcohol use by household types.