Moderating effects of positive parenting and maternal alcohol use on emerging adults' alcohol use: Does living at home matter?

Michael J. Cleveland, Racheal Reavy, Kimberly A. Mallett, Rob Turrisi, Helene R. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Positive parenting behaviors and parental modeling of alcohol use are consistent predictors of offspring's alcohol use. Recent research extends these findings to emerging adult children and confirms continued parental influence beyond adolescence. This paper examines how maternal warmth and supervision moderate the effects of mother's heavy alcohol use on their offspring's alcohol use among a sample of non-college-attending emerging adults. Three-way interactions were used to examine if these moderating effects differed between emerging adults who lived at home and those with other living arrangements. Separate analyses within gender were used to further examine these associations. Participants were 245 emerging adults between ages 18 and 22. years with no post-secondary education (59% female) who were selected from a national probability-based internet panel. Path analyses indicated that, regardless of living arrangements, male emerging adults who were more likely to witness their mother getting drunk were themselves more likely to engage in risky drinking. However, among female emerging adults, similarity between mothers' and daughters' drunkenness was strongest among participants who resided with their family and also reported low levels of maternal warmth. This study extends previous research by indicating that the effects of maternal modeling of heavy alcohol use on emerging adults' heavy alcohol use depend upon several factors, including the gender of the child and the family context. Implications of the study findings are discussed in terms of expanding the scope of a parent-based intervention (PBI) to all emerging adults, including those who do not attend colleges or universities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)869-878
Number of pages10
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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