The effect of parental drinking on alcohol use in young adults: the mediating role of parental monitoring and peer deviance

Liam Mahedy, Georgina MacArthur, Gemma Hammerton, Alexis C Edwards, Kenneth S Kendler, John Macleod, Matthew Hickman, Simon C. Moore, Jon Heron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
364 Downloads (Pure)


Background/Aims Evidence demonstrating an association between parental alcohol use and offspring alcohol use from robust prospective studies is lacking. We tested the direct and indirect associations between parental and young adult alcohol use via early alcohol initiation, parental monitoring and associating with deviant peers. Design Prospective birth cohort study. Path analysis was used to assess the possible association between parental alcohol use (assessed at 12 years) and alcohol use in young adults (assessed at 18 years) via potential mediators (assessed at 14 and 15.5 years, respectively). Setting SW England.Participants Data were available on 3,785 adolescents and their parents from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.Measurements The continuous AUDIT score was used as the primary outcome measure. Maternal alcohol use was defined as light (<4 units on any day), moderate (≥4 units on 1-3 days), and high-risk (≥4 units on ≥4 days in one-week). Partner alcohol use was also defined as light, moderate and high-risk. Socioeconomic variables were included as covariates. Findings There was strong evidence of a total effect from maternal alcohol use to young adult alcohol use (moderate: b=1.07, 95% CI=.64, 1.49, p<.001; high-risk: b=1.71, 95% CI=1.07, 2.35, p<.001). The majority of this association was explained through early alcohol initiation (moderate: b=0.14, 95% CI=.04, .25, p=.01; high-risk: b=0.24, 95% CI=.07, .40, p<.01), and early alcohol initiation/associating with deviant peers (moderate: b=0.06, 95% CI=.02, .10, p<.01; high-risk: b=0.10, 95% CI=.03, .16, p<.01). There was strong evidence of a remaining direct effect (moderate: b=0.81, 95% CI=.39, 1.22, p<.001; high-risk: b=1.28, 95% CI=.65, 1.91, p<.001). A similar pattern of results was evident for partner alcohol use.Conclusions Young adults whose parents have moderate or high-risk alcohol consumption are more likely to consume alcohol than those with parents with lower alcohol consumption. This association appears to be partly accounted for by earlier alcohol use initiation and higher prevalence of association with deviant peers.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Early online date28 May 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 May 2018

Structured keywords

  • DECIPHer


  • parental transmission
  • alcohol
  • teenagers
  • prospective
  • peer deviance
  • parental monitoring


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