Do maternal parenting practices predict problematic patterns of adolescent alcohol consumption?


Rosa Alati, School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Public Health Building, Herston Rd, Herston 4009, Queensland, Australia. E-mail:


Objective  This study examines whether a mother's style of parenting at child age 5 years predicts problematic patterns of drinking in adolescence, after controlling for relevant individual, maternal and social risk factors.

Methods  Data were used from the Mater-University Study of Pregnancy, an Australian longitudinal study of mothers and their children from pregnancy to when the children were 14 years of age. Logistic regression analyses examined whether maternal parenting practices at child age 5 predicted problematic drinking patterns in adolescence, after controlling for a range of confounding covariates.

Results  Physical punishment at child age 5 did not predict adolescent alcohol problems at follow-up. Results indicated that low maternal control at child age 5 predicted adolescent occasional drinking patterns at age 14. More frequent maternal partner change coupled with lower levels of control was the strongest predictor of more problematic patterns of drinking by adolescents.

Conclusions  These findings highlight the importance of family structure and level of parental control in the development of problematic patterns of drinking in adolescence.