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Iowa State study finds mom's beliefs may impact their kids' alcohol use
Date:9/18/2008

AMES, Iowa Mothers, take note. If you really want to curb your teens' chances of using alcohol, help them develop a self-view that doesn't include drinking. According to a new Iowa State University study, the power of positive thinking by moms may limit their children's alcohol use.

But beware. The opposite is also true.

"When mothers overestimated their teens' future use of alcohol, the teens developed the self-view that they were likely to drink alcohol in the future, which ultimately led them to drink more," said Stephanie Madon, an ISU associate professor of psychology and lead author of the study.

Madon collaborated on the study with ISU graduate students Ashley Buller, Kyle Scherr and Jennifer Willard; Max Guyll, an assistant professor of psychology; and Richard Spoth, director of the Partnerships in Prevention Science Institute at Iowa State. They analyzed data obtained from a series of interviews with nearly 800 Iowa mothers and their children over three to five years.

Their paper, "The Mediation of Mothers' Self-Fulfilling Effects on Their Children's Alcohol Use: Self-Verification, Informational Conformity, and Modeling Processes," was recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a professional journal of the American Psychological Association.

The team's previous research had found a link between a mother's belief about her child's likelihood of using alcohol and her child's actual use in junior high school and high school.

"We previously found that mothers' beliefs about their teen's future use of alcohol were about 50 percent correct and 50 percent incorrect, and that the incorrect portion of mothers' beliefs created a self-fulfilling prophecy -- teens behaved like their mothers had incorrectly expected them to," Madon said.

Their latest study builds upon those results.

"What we were trying to do in this paper was understand the mechanisms invo
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Contact: Mike Ferlazzo
ferlazzo@iastate.edu
515-294-8986
Iowa State University
Source:Eurekalert

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