MA Research Paper


Master of Arts




Dr. Andrea E. Willson


This study examines the impact of parenting during adolescence and young adulthood on children’s use of alcohol and illicit drugs in young adulthood. The influence of mentoring relationships are also assessed. Longitudinal data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health and ordered and multinomial logistic regression analyses were used to test models predicting young adults’ frequency of heavy drinking and illicit drug use. Interaction terms were tested between parent and mentor variables as well as college enrolment. Parental monitoring during adolescence reduced young adults’ use of alcohol, but not illicit drugs. Rather, attachment to parents reduced young adults’ use of illicit drugs, particularly for illicit drugs other than marijuana. Conversely, increases in communication with parents during adolescence was a risk factor for the use of illicit drugs. The influence of mentors did not protect against alcohol consumption, but significantly reduced the odds of illicit drug use. The findings suggest a multidirectional and substance-specific impact of parenting on young adults’ substance use behaviours. Mentors contribute their own positive impacts regardless of young adults’ relationships with parents.

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