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Intergenerational Continuity in Substance Abuse: Does Offsprings Friendship Network Make a Difference?

NCJ Number
Journal of Adolescent Health Volume: 63 Issue: 2 Dated: August 2018 Pages: 205-212
Kimberly L. Henry; Celia J. Fulco; Della V. Agbeke; Anatasia M. Ratcliff
Date Published
August 2018
8 pages
This study examined the substance use of peers in an adolescent's friendship network as a potential moderator of intergenerational continuity in substance abuse.
A parental history of substance abuse is a key risk factor for offspring's substance abuse. Identification of factors that may mitigate this effect is prerequisite to promoting resilience. In addressing this issue, the current study analyzed prospective, longitudinal data from the Rochester Youth Development Study and the Rochester Intergenerational Study for 246 father-child dyads and 167 mother-child dyads. Ordinal generalized estimating equations were specified to examine the moderating role of friend's substance use in the relationship between parental substance use disorder and child's substance abuse between the ages of 13 and 17. The study found that the father's substance use disorder was associated with an increased risk of substance abuse by his child. Moreover, the harmful effect of paternal substance abuse on the child's abuse of substances was apparent only when some or most of the child's friends used substances. Maternal substance use disorder was extremely rare in the sample and was not found to be associated with a child's substance abuse, irrespective of the substance use of friends. The study concludes that the intergenerational transmission of risk for substance abuse between father and child was mitigated when children were not exposed to friends who use substances, and exacerbated when children had substantial exposure to substance-using friends. Preventing the child's association with substance-using peers may be particularly important for children with this type of familial risk. (publisher abstract modified)