It may come as little surprise to some that parents have a big influence in whether their kids use marijuana and alcohol. Addiction has frequently been called a family disease, since one family member’s addiction can negatively affect the family as a whole.
New evidence of the role parents play in whether kids use drugs or alcohol has emerged among researchers from North Carolina State University, Brigham Young University and Pennsylvania State University. Their research has found that parental involvement in kids’ lives is even more important than school programs aimed at addressing alcohol and marijuana use, according to a recently released paper.
Evaluating data from more than 10,000 students as well as the students’ parents, teachers and school administrators, the researchers studied how “family social capital” (bonds, trust and communication between parents and children) and “school social capital” (a school’s capacity to serve as a positive, educational environment for children) affected the likelihood and frequency of marijuana and/or alcohol use in children.
Evaluating marijuana and alcohol use separately, the researchers found that students with positive family relationships but low levels of school social capital were less likely to use alcohol or marijuana, or used them less frequently than students with high levels of school social capital but low levels of family social capital.
Co-author of the paper and sociology professor at NC State said, “To be clear, school programs that address alcohol and marijuana use are definitely valuable, but the bonds parents form with their children are more important. Ideally, we can have both.”
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