Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 12, pp 3433–3445 | Cite as

Communicative Support and Parental Knowledge among African American Residential Fathers: Longitudinal Associations with Adolescent Substance Use

  • Shauna M. CooperEmail author
  • Isha Metzger
  • Alexis Georgeson
  • Alexandrea R. Golden
  • Marketa Burnett
  • C. Nicole White
Original Paper



The current examines how African American residential fathers’ communicative support and parental knowledge influence adolescents’ substance use across a 3-year period. Additionally, this study examines whether these associations vary for African American boys and girls.


Participants were 665 African American adolescents (M = 13.1 years of age; 49% female) from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth-1997. All adolescents resided with their fathers or father figures. Individual and parallel process growth curve analyses examined how communicative support and parental knowledge were associated with initial levels and rate of change in African American adolescents’ substance use.


Although African American girls exhibited higher initial levels of substance use, there was greater growth in boys’ substance use over time. Analyses indicated that residential fathers’ parental knowledge was associated with substance use over time for both girls and boys. Findings also revealed that demographic factors more strongly predicted father–daughter relational characteristics.


Our study highlights how African American residential fathers’ parenting practices influence adolescent substance use. Further, this investigation suggests that gender and demographic variation in relation to African American girls’ and boys’ substance use is highly nuanced. Implications for prevention are discussed.


African American fathers Adolescence Substance use Parental knowledge Parental support 


Author Contributions

SC: Designed and executed the study, collaborated and wrote the initial draft of the paper. IM: Collaborated on the study design and assisted with writing of the manuscript. AG: Led the data analyses and assisted with editing of the final manuscript. ARG: Assisted with writing of the manuscript. MB: Contributed to drafting and editing of the manuscript. CNW: Assisting with initial literature review and initial drafting of the manuscript.


This work was funded by a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (1R03HD0686880).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional (University of South Carolina) and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology & NeuroscienceUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.University of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  3. 3.University of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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