• Open Access

Mothers' intentions to introduce their adolescent to alcohol use: does mothers' alcohol use effect intentions?


Correspondence to:
Dr Rachel M. Roberts, School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide 5005, South Australia. Fax: (08) 8303 3770; e-mail: Rachel.roberts@adelaide.edu.au


Objective: To assess mothers' intentions to introduce their adolescent to alcohol and to examine whether their own alcohol use influences their intentions.

Methods: Mothers (N = 161) of children aged 12.5 years (SD = 0.8) completed measures of their alcohol use and their intentions and attitudes towards their children beginning to drink alcohol.

Results: Overall, 68% of mothers reported that parents should introduce their children to alcohol at home before they reach the age of 18, (in contrast with NHMRC guidelines, which recommend delaying alcohol use until age 18). While there were some statistically significant differences in mothers' intentions and beliefs according to their own alcohol use, these were small or medium effects, and tended to be differences in degree rather than in kind and not likely to be of practical importance.

Conclusions and implications: Introducing their children to the use of alcohol is a role mothers see as important, and one they generally felt sufficiently equipped to carry out. Mothers' intentions to initiate their children into alcohol use were remarkably similar despite differences in mothers' own alcohol use. This suggests that approaches to education and guidance for parents are unlikely to need to take mothers' alcohol use into account when planning ways to support parents in this aspect of their role, at least for mothers of early adolescents.