35-Year-Old Parents Do Not Approve of 17-Year-Olds’ Cigarette, Marijuana, or Alcohol Use: U.S. National Data 1993–2018

Christopher J. Mehus, Megan E. Patrick, John Schulenberg, Jennifer L. Maggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Parents’ attitudes about adolescent substance use likely guide their parenting behaviors. This study documents prevalence of parents’ disapproval of adolescent substance use and characteristics associated with disapproval. Methods: Survey data from national samples of 35-year-old parents from the U.S. Monitoring the Future study were collected 1993–2018. Multivariable logistic regression examined predictors of disapproving attitudes about substance use by a hypothetical 17-year-old child, including occasional marijuana use or drunkenness, and regular cigarette, marijuana, or alcohol use. Results: Across all cohorts, rates of disapproving attitudes ranged from 93.7% disapproving of getting drunk occasionally to 97.2% disapproving of regular cigarette use, with some erosion in disapproval for some substances across cohorts. Parents’ own recent abstinence from substance use predicted greater odds of disapproval. Conclusions: The overwhelming majority of 35-year-old parents disapprove of adolescent substance use. Prevention and public health messaging can support parenting by sharing this important information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)989-992
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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