Parental Attitudes toward Substance Abuse

The risk factors that influence adolescents’ use of illegal drugs include individual-level characteristics, peer attitudes and behaviors, community norms, and family characteristics.  When parents hold attitudes favorable to the use of alcohol and other drugs, or engage in heavy drinking or drug use themselves, their children are more likely to drink alcohol or use drugs (Cleveland, Feinberg, Bontempo, & Greenberg, 2008).

Prevention programs seeking to affect this outcome should expect the percent of families with favorable attitudes toward substance use (an aggregate-level performance measure) to decrease before finding reduced levels of adolescent substance use.  Programs should track individual-level changes by measuring how scores on these questionnaires change over time. Outcomes monitoring activities can assess parental attitudes prior to, half-way through, and immediately after the completion of the program, but should expect to find early signs that this outcome is changing. If this is not the case, a closer examination of program design, implementation and quality of service delivery may be necessary. 

By ChildTrends


Source Cited

Cleveland, M. J., Feinberg,M. E., Bontempo, D. E., and Greenberg, M. T. (2008).  The role of risk and protective factors in substance use across adolescence.  Journal of Adolescent Health, 43(2), 157-164.