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Parental monitoring of opposite-gender child may decrease problem drinking in young adults
Date:3/14/2011

Young adults whose parents monitor their social interactions may be less likely to display impulsive behavior traits and to have alcohol-related problems, a new study suggests. The level of monitoring is linked to parenting style, and the link is stronger with the parent of the opposite gender.

This study is one of the first to explore the link between parenting style and parental monitoring, as well as to explore the monitoring style of each parent individually, says Julie A. Patock-Peckham, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience at Baylor University and one of the study authors.

"While there's a plethora of research showing that low parental monitoring contributes to risky behavior, very few researchers have examined the effects of parental monitoring separated out by mothers and fathers," she says. "It's normally measured just with the word 'parent.'"

The study involved 581 college students from the Missouri University of Science and Technology and San Diego State University. Participating students completed a questionnaire that addressed the parenting styles of both their mothers and fathers, perceptions of mothers' and fathers' knowledge of their friendships and social plans, and questions about their own impulsiveness and alcohol-related problems.

Parents were classified as authoritarian (characterized by an emphasis on rules and obedience and a lack of discussion), authoritative (characterized by clear rules and instructions, but with an atmosphere of open discussion), or permissive (characterized by behaving more like a friend than a parent).

Authoritative parents were most likely to do a better job of monitoring (knowing about their child's social life and plans), whereas permissive parents were least likely to effectively monitor their children. Surprisingly, authoritarian parents seemed to have neither an advantage nor a disadvantage in terms of monitoring.

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Contact: Julie Patock-Peckham, Ph.D.
Julie_Patock@baylor.edu
254-652-1948
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Source:Eurekalert

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