Child-parent agreement on alcohol-related parenting

May 2018
Shaw, T., Johnston, R., Gilligan, C. and McBride, N. (2018). Child-parent agreement on alcohol-related parenting: opportunities for prevention of alcohol-related harm. Health Promotion Journal of Australia. DOI: 10.1002/hpja.39.

Issue addressed  Excessive alcohol consumption places adolescents at increased risk of preventable, acute alcohol‐related injury. Parental attitudes and behaviours influence adolescents’ alcohol use. This study examined alignment in parent and child reports of alcohol‐related parenting and whether misalignment related to the child ever having drunk alcohol.

Methods  A cross‐sectional online survey was conducted in 5 secondary schools in [information removed for blinding in Perth, Western Australia] in 2015. All students in Years 7, 10 and 12 and their parents were eligible, and data were matched for 124 child‐parent dyads. Alignment of parent‐child reports was assessed using kappa statistics. In dyads where the parent reported protective attitudes and behaviours, the association between misalignment and alcohol use was tested in logistic regressions.

Results  Overall, child‐parent reports were aligned on parents’ expectations, knowledge and actions (65% and higher agreed). While alignment on parental expectations seemed to decrease with age, alignment on parental communication and rule‐setting increased. Misalignment on reports of parents’ expectations was associated with increased odds of the child reporting having ever had alcohol (OR = 5.5; 95% CI = 2.7‐47.7), as was parental supply (OR = 20.2; 95% CI = 3.3‐121.5), but misalignment on parental communication, rule‐setting and knowledge were not.

Conclusions  Parent non‐supply of alcohol and disapproval of use were most important in terms of associations with ever drinking.

So what?  These findings call for interventions that support parents to expect no alcohol use and enable parents to communicate their expectation in a manner that resonates with their child. Effective parenting will contribute to reducing alcohol‐related harm in adolescents.