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. 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 the adolescents (21.4%) reported having had caregivers who misused substances. Sixteen types of PPP were assessed (e.g., grounding, being yelled at, and being beaten). Adolescents reported having experienced an average of 7 (SD = 3.4) types of PPP. Further, 51.7% and 70.9% of the adolescents used alcohol and cannabis > 10 times over the past year at baseline, respectively; and 16.4% and 23.8% of the adolescents had an alcohol and cannabis use disorder diagnosis one year later, respectively.
Path analyses revealed adolescents whose caregiver misused substances had significantly greater odds (OR = 1.51) of developing alcohol use disorder themselves. Further, caregivers’ substance misuse was directly related to significantly more PPP (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. PPP 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 connecting parental substance misuse to youth’s development of a SUD.