Examining The Relationship Between Parenting Types and Patterns of Student Alcohol-Related Behavior During the Transition to College

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The present study sought to examine parenting influences on student alcohol use through the use of a holistic, person-centered approach in order to accomplish three distinct research aims: (a) identify groups of college students with unique profiles of perceived parenting characteristics, (b) identify groups of college students with unique profiles of alcohol-related correlates, and (c) examine the extent to which profiles of perceived parenting characteristics are associated with profiles of college alcohol-related risk. A sample of 1,153 first-year university students (17–20 years-of-age) was assessed on a host of perceived parenting and self-reported alcohol-related items. Four profiles of perceived parenting (High Quality, High Monitoring, Anti-Alcohol, Pro-Alcohol) were found using latent profile analysis (LPA). Five profiles of student alcohol-related characteristics (Abstainers, Past Drinkers, Light Drinkers, High Risk Drinkers, Extreme Risk Drinkers) were also found using LPA. Latent transition analysis illustrated that students who perceived their parents as belonging to the Pro-Alcohol profile had much higher probabilities of belonging in the High Risk Drinker or Extreme Risk Drinker profiles than students in all other perceived parenting profiles. In addition to alcohol-specific parenting characteristics, aspects of parent-teen relationship quality may also be integral in the prevention of college alcohol misuse. Finally, this study observed complex patterns of parenting and alcohol behaviors, such that the profiles could be interpreted as qualitatively distinct types of individuals. These unique profiles suggest that a targeted approach reflecting the profiles found in the current study might greatly enhance prevention program efficacy.

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