College Drinking Behaviors: Mediational Links Between Parenting Styles, Parental Bonds, Depression, and Alcohol Problems

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Mediational links between parenting styles (authoritative, authoritarian, permissive), parental bond (positive, negative), depression, alcohol use and abuse were tested. A 2-group, multiple-indicator, multiple-cause structural equation model with 441 (216 female, 225 male) college students was examined. In general, a poor parental bond with one's father was highly predictive of depression, a well-known predictor of alcohol abuse and related problems for both genders. In contrast, a positive parental bond with one's father significantly mediated the positive effects of authoritative fathering on depression, which then decreased alcohol use problems for both genders. For women, a negative parental bond with one's father significantly mediated the effect of having an authoritarian father on depression, which increased alcohol use problems. These findings suggest that parental influences on pathways to alcohol abuse through depression (primarily through fathers for both genders) are distinct from pathways stemming from poor impulse control (with influences primarily from the same-sex parents for both genders).

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