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Do Parents Know Best? Examining the Relationship Between Parenting Profiles, Prevention Efforts, and Peak Drinking in College Students


  • This research was supported by Grant R01 AA012529 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Kimberly A. Mallett, Prevention Research Center, The Pennsylvania State University, 204 E. Calder Way, Suite 208, State College, PA 16801. E-mail:


The study examined parent profiles among high school athletes transitioning to college and their association with high-risk drinking in a multi-site, randomized trial. Students (n = 587) were randomized to a control or combined parent-based and brief motivational intervention condition and completed measures at baseline and at 5- and 10-month follow-ups. Four parent profiles (authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, indifferent) were observed among participants. Findings indicated control participants with authoritarian parenting were at the greatest risk for heavy drinking. Alternately, students exposed to permissive or authoritarian parenting reported lower peak drinking when administered the combined intervention, compared to controls. Findings suggest the combined intervention was efficacious in reducing peak alcohol consumption among high-risk students based on athlete status and parenting profiles.