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Do parents play different roles in drinking behaviours of male and female adolescents? A longitudinal follow-up study

15 Apr 2015

Objective

Gender differences in the associations between adolescent drinking behaviour, and perceived parental drinking behaviours and attitudes towards underage drinking, were investigated.

Methods

Data were drawn from two cohorts in the Child and Adolescent Behaviours in Long-term Evolution project. We used data from 2009 to 2006, when cohorts 1 and 2, respectively, were in grade 9. No cohort effect was found, so the two cohorts were pooled; 3972 students (1999 boys and 1973 girls) participated in the study. The major variables included adolescent drinking behaviours over the last month, and perceived parental drinking behaviours and parental attitudes towards underage drinking. The effects of the combination of parental drinking behaviours, and attitudes on the drinking behaviours of male and female adolescents, were analysed by logistic regression.

Results

The drinking behaviour of boys was correlated with the drinking behaviours and attitudes of their fathers but not with those of their mothers. Among boys, having a non-drinking father who was against underage drinking (OR=0.27, 95% CI 0.16 to 0.46), a non-drinking father who was favourable towards underage drinking (OR=0.61, 95% CI 0.39 to 0.94), or a drinking father who was against underage drinking (OR=0.44, 95% CI 0.23 to 0.85) significantly decreased the likelihood of alcohol consumption, whereas maternal behaviour and attitude were not significant influences. Among girls, having a non-drinking father who was against underage drinking (OR=0.52, 95% CI 0.30 to 0.91) or a non-drinking father who was favourable towards underage drinking (OR=0.51, 95% CI 0.32 to 0.83) significantly decreased the likelihood of alcohol consumption, as did having a non-drinking mother who was against underage drinking (OR=0.23, 95% CI 0.09 to 0.60).

Conclusions

The influences of fathers and mothers on the drinking behaviour of their adolescent children differed by offspring gender.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open