Influence of Parental Alcohol Dependence Symptoms and Parenting on Adolescent Risky Drinking and Conduct Problems: A Family Systems Perspective

Jinni Su, Sally I.Chun Kuo, Fazil Aliev, Mignonne C. Guy, Chelsea L. Derlan, Howard J. Edenberg, John I. Nurnberger, John R. Kramer, Kathleen K. Bucholz, Jessica E. Salvatore, Danielle M. Dick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Parental alcohol problems are associated with adverse adolescent outcomes such as risky drinking and conduct problems. Important questions remain about the unique roles of fathers’ and mothers’ alcohol problems and differences and/or similarities in pathways of risk across ethnicity and gender. In this study, we used a family systems approach to consider spillover and crossover effects of fathers’ and mothers’ alcohol problems (number of alcohol dependence symptoms [ADS]) and parenting behaviors in relation to adolescents’ risky drinking and conduct problems. Methods: The sample included 1,282 adolescents (aged 12 to 17) and their parents from the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism. Parents completed the Semi-Structured Assessment for the Genetics of Alcoholism (SSAGA), and adolescents completed an adolescent version of SSAGA. Data were analyzed using multivariate structural equation modeling. Results: Fathers’ ADS count was associated with higher adolescent risky drinking and conduct problems indirectly via disruption to fathers’ and mothers’ positive parenting behaviors, whereas mothers’ ADS count was not associated with adolescents’ risky drinking and conduct problems directly or indirectly via positive parenting behaviors. No differences in these associations were found across ethnic background and offspring gender. Conclusions: Findings highlight the importance of considering the unique roles of fathers’ and mothers’ ADS in influencing family processes and adolescent outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1783-1794
Number of pages12
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018



  • Alcohol Dependence
  • Conduct Problems
  • Externalizing
  • Parenting
  • Risky Drinking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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