Abstract: (WITHDRAWN) All in the Family: The Relationship between Parental Substance Misuse, Punitive Parenting Practices, and the Development of Youth Substance Misuse Among a Justice-Involved Sample (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

(WITHDRAWN) All in the Family: The Relationship between Parental Substance Misuse, Punitive Parenting Practices, and the Development of Youth Substance Misuse Among a Justice-Involved Sample

Saturday, January 18, 2020
Liberty Ballroom N, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Emily Bosk, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Wen Li Anthony, PhD, Assistant Professor, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Johanna Folk, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, San Francisco, CA
Abigail Williams-Butler, PhD, Assistant Professor, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ
Background and Purpose: Nearly half of detained youth meet diagnostic criteria for a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and many have caregivers with a SUD as well. There is some evidence linking parental and youth substance misuse, yet little is known about why this relationship exists. One potential mechanism is punitive parenting practices (PPP), which broadly impact children’s socio-emotional development and which also are associated with parental substance misuse. The current study explores whether punitive parenting practices are  an underlying mechanism of intergenerational substance misuse transmission among youth involved with the juvenile justice system.

Methods: This study used two waves of data from the Northwestern Juvenile Project, the first large-scale longitudinal survey of mental health and substance misuse in a representative sample of adolescent detainees. The full sample (N= 1,820, 35.9% female, 10-18 years of age) was used for data analyses. Sixteen types of punitive parenting practices were assessed (e.g., grounding, being yelled at, and being beaten). Multivariate path analysis examined the effects of caregiver’s substance misuse on PPP, which contributes to youth’s substance misuse at baseline and SUD one year later.

Results: More than 20% of participating adolescents (21.4%) reported having caregivers who misused substances. Adolescents reported experiencing an average of 7 (SD= 3.4) types of PPP. Further, 51.7% and 70.9% of adolescents used alcohol and cannabis ≥10 times over the past year at baseline, respectively; and 16.4% and 23.8% of adolescents had an alcohol and cannabis use disorder diagnosis one year later, respectively.

Path analyses revealed adolescents whose primary caregiver misused substances had significantly greater odds (OR= 1.51) of developing alcohol use disorder. Further, caregivers’ substance misuse was directly related to significantly more punitive parenting practices (B= 1.25), which significantly contributed to adolescents’ alcohol (B= 0.09) and cannabis use frequency (B= 0.09) at baseline, and cannabis use disorder (OR= 1.05) one year later. Punitive parenting practices significantly partially mediated the effects of caregivers’ substance misuse on adolescents’ alcohol and cannabis use frequency at baseline and alcohol and cannabis use disorders one year later.

Conclusions and Implications: By identifying punitive parenting practices as an underlying mechanism for the intergenerational transmission of substance misuse among justice-involved youth, this study clarifies one pathway by which high-risk youth may develop alcohol and cannabis use disorders. This work also provides further support to the limited research connecting parental substance misuse to youth’s development of a SUD. Findings highlight the importance of addressing parenting in the treatment of SUD, a currently overlooked component of intervention for parents with a SUD. Intervening with punitive parenting regardless of whether a caregiver has a SUD is also likely to be help prevent youth development of a SUD in high-risk populations. Finally, specialized treatment of justice-involved youth for SUD should be a central focus of policy and intervention given the high rates of these disorders in this population. Further research is necessary to understand the relationship between caregiver SUD, punitive parenting practices and justice-involvement for high-risk youth.