Investigating associations between perceived parental alcohol-related messages and college student drinking

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24 Scopus citations


Objective: A debate remains regarding whether parents should teach their children harm-reduction tips for using alcohol while in college or whether they should maintain a zero-tolerance policy. Which type of alcohol-related communication parents should endorse is not empirically clear. The current study made use of a longitudinal measurement-burst design to examine this issue. Method: The sample consisted of 585 second-year students from a large university in the northeastern United States. Participants completed a baseline survey and 14 daily web-based surveys. Students were assessed for perceptions of parental alcohol-related messages and their own alcohol use. Multilevel models were estimated using HLM 6.04. Results: The data indicate that zero-tolerance messages appeared most protective against alcohol use and consequences. Harm-reduction messages were most risky, even when compared with mixed messages or the absence of a message. Conclusions: Findings indicate that a zero-tolerance approach was associated with safer outcomes than other messages, even if students were already using alcohol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-79
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of studies on alcohol and drugs
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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