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Add Health study: Strict Moms Influence Kids' Friends

Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, researchers at Harvard University and the University of California, San Diego have found that adolescent drinking and drug use are influenced by the parenting style of their friends’ mothers. Adolescents in social networks that include a friend whose mother practices authoritative parenting face a lower risk of substance abuse than adolescents in social networks that don’t include a friend with an authoritative mother.

 

Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, researchers at Harvard University and the University of California, San Diego have found that adolescent drinking and drug use are influenced by the parenting style of their friends’ mothers.  Adolescents in social networks that include a friend whose mother practices authoritative parenting face a lower risk of substance abuse than adolescents in social networks that don’t include a friend with an authoritative mother.

Read the Health story here:  Strict Moms Influence Kids’ Friends:  Study (by Steven Reinberg, released on October 08, 2012). 

Excerpt:  “Mothers who are strict with their teen children also influence the behavior of their teens’ friends, a new study suggests. 

In fact, the researchers found, the friends were 40 percent less likely to get drunk, 38 percent less likely to binge drink, 39 percent less likely to smoke and 43 percent less likely to smoke marijuana, compared with friends of teens whose mothers were less strict.

‘Authoritative parenting – using a style that balances warmth and communication with appropriate control and supervision – is not only associated with reduced substance abuse in our own children, but it is also associated with reduced substance abuse in our own children’s friends,’ said lead researcher Holly Shakya, a postdoctoral research fellow with the Gates Foundation Social Networks Project at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.”

Dr. Holly B. Shakya is a postdoctoral research fellow in the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine.  Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis is the director of Harvard University’s Human Nature Lab, Professor of Medical Sociology in Harvard Medical School’s Department of Health Care Policy, Professor of Medicine in Harvard Medical School’s Department of Medicine, and Professor of Sociology in Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Sociology.  Dr. James H. Fowler is a Professor in the Medical Genetics Division of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine, Professor in the University of California, San Diego Division of Social Sciences’ Political Science Department, and Adjunct Professor in the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine’s Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. 

Scholarly source:  Holly B. Shakya, Ph.D., Nicholas A. Christakis, M.D., Ph.D., and James H. Fowler, Ph.D. (2012). Parental Influence on Substance Use in Adolescent Social Networks. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/archpediatrics.2012.1372