Racial differences in parenting style typologies and heavy episodic drinking trajectories from adolescence to young adulthood


Clark, Trenette T.; Yang, Chongming; McClernon, F. Joseph; & Fuemmeler, Bernard F. (2014). Racial differences in parenting style typologies and heavy episodic drinking trajectories from adolescence to young adulthood. Society for Social Work and Research Annual Conference. San Antonio, TX.


Background and Purpose: Despite racial differences in alcohol and heavy episodic drinking (HED) patterns and outcomes, little is known about the factors contributing to these disparities. The purpose of this study was to explore racial differences between parenting style typologies and changes in HED from adolescence to young adulthood.

Methods: The analytic sample of 9,942 Black and White adolescents was drawn from 20,774 adolescents in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) database. Add Health is an ongoing, longitudinal study with a nationally representative sample of U.S. adolescents who have been followed from adolescence into adulthood via four waves of data collection. Data were analyzed by applying a cohort sequential design, and analyses were conducted using Mplus version 7. A mixture confirmatory factor analysis was conducted to examine the measurement of two parenting dimensions: acceptance and control. The mixture model identified four heterogeneous groups that differed based on parental acceptance and control: authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and uninvolved/neglectful. We applied latent growth modeling (LGM) with zero-inflated Poisson (ZIP) regressions to model changes in alcohol use among youth over time. We also use a multigroup LGM framework to evaluate the moderating effects of racial group membership.

Results: The conditional LGM model examined the association of parenting on HED trajectories by race. The coefficients of the inflated part suggest that both White and Black adolescents raised by uninvolved or permissive parents had lower likelihoods of remaining abstinent at age 12 years than adolescents raised by authoritative parents. However, children of authoritarian parents had a higher likelihood of remaining abstinent at age 12 compared with children of authoritative parents. The positive and statistically significant coefficients for the slopes for adolescents influenced by either uninvolved or permissive parenting indicated that their trajectories for remaining abstinent were less steep than the trajectory of abstinence among youth with authoritative parents. These findings suggest a floor effect.

Permissive and authoritarian parenting styles among Whites were not associated with the respondents’ level of HED at age 12 (all p values > .05). Whereas among Blacks, both permissive and authoritarian parenting styles were associated with greater HED at age 12 as compared with authoritative parenting (gi = .30, p < .05, gi = .53, p <.01, respectively). For White adolescents, permissive parenting was associated with a greater frequency of HED over the development stages as compared with adolescents exposed to authoritative parenting (gs = .14, p < .05). For Blacks, authoritarian parenting was associated with a less steep increase in HED over developmental stages as compared with authoritative parenting (gs = -.45, p < .01), possibly reflecting a ceiling effect.

Conclusions and Implications: This study provides evidence that parenting is an important factor that contributes either positively or negatively to HED among adolescents and young adults. We also found that parenting styles can have persistent effects on HED across adolescence into young adulthood. Substance use prevention efforts should be tailored to youths’ cultural backgrounds and should continue to emphasize making improvements in parental monitoring, supervision, discipline, and warmth.



Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

Society for Social Work and Research Annual Conference


Clark, Trenette T.
Yang, Chongming
McClernon, F. Joseph
Fuemmeler, Bernard F.

Year Published


City of Publication

San Antonio, TX

Reference ID