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Exploring associations with drinking frequency, alcohol-related harms, and the role of parental monitoring

Youth obtain alcohol from many sources, including friends, siblings, parents and other adults. Whether parental supply, relative to other sources, is associated with experiencing a negative alcoholrelated outcome is an area of considerable debate. Less well understood is whether the observed association is further contextualized by level of parental monitoring of the child.

This study has two main objectives: to determine if there is a relationship between parental supply, drinking frequency, and alcohol-related harms among youth; and to assess whether parental monitoring moderates this relationship.

Participants were drawn from the 2012 Student Drug Use Survey in Canada’s Atlantic Provinces, an anonymous cross-sectional survey of high school students (ages 15-19 years). Adjusted regression models assessed the association between drinking frequency, experiencing alcohol-related harms, and four different sources of supply. Additional analyses stratified on levels of parental monitoring. Relative to receiving alcohol from friends, parental supply was associated with lower odds of experiencing any alcohol-related harm (AOR 0.42; 95% CI 0.28-0.61) and loss of control (AOR = 0.42; 95% CI 0.29-0.62). Drinking frequency did not differ by source of supply. Associations between parental supply and harm were absent among youth reporting low levels of parental monitoring.

Youth who receive alcohol from parents’ report fewer alcohol-related harms relative to those who obtain their alcohol from friends, despite no observed differences in drinking frequency. Understanding how parents may help to minimise experiences of alcohol-related harm among youth beyond the simple promotion of abstinence from drinking is warranted.

Source: When parents supply alcohol to their children: exploring associations with drinking frequency, alcoholrelated harms, and the role of parental monitoring. Wilson MN; Langille DB; Ogilvie R; Asbridge M. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Vol 183, 2018, pp141-149. drugalcdep.2017.10.037

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