Page last updated: September 15, 2016

Reducing children’s susceptibility to alcohol use: effects of a home-based parenting programme

A 4-year efficacy trial tested whether a home-based, self-administered parenting programme could have a long-term effect on children’s cognitive susceptibility to alcohol use.

Using a two-group randomised controlled design, 1,076 children (540 treatment; 536 control; mean age of 9.2 years at baseline) completed telephone interviews prior to randomisation and follow-up interviews at 12, 24, 36, and 48 months post-baseline. Mothers of children randomised to treatment received a 5-month-long parenting programme during year 1, followed by two 1-month-long boosters in years 2 and 3.

Exposure to the programme was significantly inversely associated with susceptibility to alcohol use 48 months post-baseline (b = −0.03, p = .04), with no variation in programme effects by parental alcohol use or mother’s race/ethnicity or education, suggesting broad public health relevance of the parenting programme.

The programme exposure positively influenced parental communication to counter pro-drinking influences in the family and media domains and parental rule setting 36 months post-baseline; these variables, in turn, predicted reduced susceptibility to alcohol use 48 months post-baseline. The programme had a significant indirect effect on susceptibility through parental rule setting. Together, the findings indicate that internalisation of protective alcohol-related expectancies and intentions is possible among children whose mothers provide early exposure to alcohol-specific socialisation. Additional research is needed to link alcohol-specific socialisation during childhood with adolescent drinking outcomes.

Source: Reducing children’s susceptibility to alcohol use: Effects of a home-based parenting programme. C Jackson, ST Ennett, H Luz McNaughton Reyes, KA Hayes, DM. Dickinson, S Choi, JM Bowling. Prevention Science July 2016, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 615-625.

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