Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 1175–1185 | Cite as

Parental Problem Drinking and Emerging Adult Problem Behavior: The Moderating Role of Parental Support

  • Laura J. FinanEmail author
  • Emily Simpson
  • Jessica Schulz
  • Christine McCauley Ohannessian
Original Paper


This study examined the relationship between parental problem drinking (maternal and paternal) and emerging adult problem behaviors (alcohol use, drug use, and antisocial behavior). In addition, the moderating role of parental support (maternal and paternal) was explored. Data were drawn from a nationally representative sample of emerging adults (N = 600; Mage = 20.00, SD = 1.42; 50% women; 62% White). Results from regression analyses of survey data indicated that both maternal problem drinking and maternal support moderated the relationship between paternal problem drinking and emerging adult alcohol use. For drug use, there was a three-way interaction between paternal problem drinking, maternal problem drinking, and maternal support. The relationship between paternal problem drinking and drug use only was significant for those who reported high maternal problem drinking and low maternal support. For antisocial behavior, there were positive relationships between paternal problem drinking and antisocial behavior and between maternal problem drinking and antisocial behavior in contexts of varying levels of parental support. Findings highlight the potential for parental support to both buffer and enhance the adverse influence of parental problem drinking across varied contexts.


Parental problem drinking Emerging adult Alcohol use Drug use Antisocial behavior 



Research reported in this publication was supported by funding from the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center to Christine McCauley Ohannessian. For Laura Finan, the preparation of this manuscript was supported by grant number T32AA014125 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIAAA or the NIH.

Author Contributions

L.J.F.: conceptualized the study, analyzed, and interpreted the data, and wrote parts of the manuscript. E.S. and J.S.: contributed to study conceptualization and wrote parts of the manuscript. C.M.O.: conceptualized and conducted the larger research project from which the data were drawn, contributed to current study conceptualization, and provided critical revisions to the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in the study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Institutional Review Board.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Prevention Research Center, University of California, BerkeleyOaklandUSA
  2. 2.University of Connecticut and Connecticut Children’s Medical CenterHartfordUSA
  3. 3.Rutgers University, CamdenCamdenUSA
  4. 4.University of Connecticut School of Medicine and Connecticut Children’s Medical CenterHartfordUSA

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