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Intergenerational Continuity in Cannabis Use: The Role of Parent's Early Onset and Lifetime Disorder on Child's Early Onset

NCJ Number
Journal of Adolescent Health Volume: 60 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2017 Pages: 87-92
Kimberly. L. Henry; Megan B. Augustyn
Date Published
January 2017
6 pages
This study examined children's early onset of cannabis use as a function of their parent's early onset of cannabis and subsequent incidence of a lifetime of cannabis-dependence disorder.
The study found that fathers who began using cannabis by age 15 were more likely to meet the criteria for a lifetime cannabis disorder (odds ratio = 5.66, 95 percent confidence interval = 1.89-16.90). The offspring of fathers who met the criteria for a disorder had higher odds of early initiation of cannabis use (odds ratio = 9.70, 95 percent confidence interval = 3.00-31.34). Early-onset cannabis use by a child's father was indirectly associated with the child's onset of cannabis use via father's lifetime cannabis disorder. No significant effects for mothers were observed, although analyses were limited due to the low rate of mothers who met the criteria for a lifetime cannabis disorder. These findings are based on an analysis of prospective, longitudinal data from the Rochester Youth Development Study and the Rochester Intergenerational Study. The analysis involved 442 parent-child dyads (274 father-child, 168 mother-child). The children were evenly split by sex. Logistic regression models and a path analysis were estimated to assess the effect of parent's cannabis use on child's onset of cannabis by age 15. The study concludes that it provides evidence of intergenerational continuity in cannabis use among fathers and their children, confirming the need to consider timing of use and intervening mechanisms in the study of continuity in cannabis use across generations. (Publisher abstract modified)