Mediating and Moderated Effects of Adolescent Behavioral Undercontrol and Parenting in the Prediction of Drug Use Disorders in Emerging Adulthood


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Abstract

This study tested whether the effects of parental alcoholism on drug use disorders in emerging adulthood were mediated by behavioral undercontrol and parenting in adolescence and whether parenting buffered the relation between undercontrol and drug use disorders. Participants were 175 children of alcoholics and 190 matched control participants from an ongoing longitudinal study (L. Chassin, F. Rogosch, & M. Barrera, 1991). Results showed that undercontrol and parental discipline mediated 58% of the effect of parental alcoholism on drug use disorders. The relation between behavioral undercontrol and drug use disorders was further moderated by parental support. This effect was “protective but reactive” (S. S. Luthar, D. Cicchetti, & B. Becker, 2000); at high levels of behavioral undercontrol the protective effect of parental support was lost. Highly undercontrolled adolescents may have such a strong diathesis for drug use disorders that buffers may not have the same effect as in those with better control.

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