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Gauging parent knowledge about teens' substance use
Date:10/24/2007

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- New research results from the University at Buffalos Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) suggest that most parents are aware of and accurately evaluate the extent of their teenagers cigarette smoking, marijuana use, drinking and overall substance use.

Researchers also found that in cases where parents provided lower estimates of substance use, parents were nearly twice as likely to underestimate frequency of marijuana use and quantity of alcohol use. Parents also were less likely to be aware of extent of use by younger teens and of their childrens use if they themselves had personal problems or were using alcohol more frequently.

What is novel about these findings is that for the first time, detailed statistics are available about parental knowledge of teen substance use for families in which the teens substance use is causing the parent stress, but the teen is not necessarily in treatment. Previous studies have been restricted to families with a teen in substance-buse treatment or families with no current substance use issues.

For a six-month reporting period, 82 percent of parents accurately evaluated the presence of teen cigarette smoking; the parents reports corresponded with the teens reports of their own smoking. Eighty-six percent of parents accurately evaluated the presence of teen alcohol use, and 86 percent accurately reported the presence of teen marijuana use. However, only 72 percent of the parents in the RIA study accurately reported the presence of illicit drug use (other than marijuana) by teens.

According to lead researcher Neil B. McGillicuddy, Ph.D., This study begins to dispel the notion that parents dont know the extent to which their teens are using cigarettes, alcohol and illicit drugs. It seems that, despite a few exceptions, many parents do know the extent of their teenagers substance use. Parents can use this knowledge to help themselves cope with teenage substance use and the resulting stress on th
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Contact: Kathleen Weaver
weaver@ria.buffalo.edu
716-887-2585
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert

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