Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 44, Issue 9, pp 1720–1734 | Cite as

Parental Knowledge is a Contextual Amplifier of Associations of Pubertal Maturation and Substance Use

  • Kristine Marceau
  • Caitlin C. Abar
  • Kristina M. Jackson
Empirical Research


Earlier pubertal development and less parental knowledge have been linked to more substance use during adolescence. The present study examines interactions between pubertal timing and tempo and parental knowledge (children’s disclosure, parental control, and parental solicitation) for adolescent substance initiation. Data are from a northeastern US-based cohort-sequential study examining 1023 youth (52 % female) semiannually for up to 6 assessments (ages 10.5–19 years). The findings supported the hypothesis that lower knowledge is a contextual amplifier of early timing-substance use associations in girls and later timing/slower tempo-substance use associations in boys, though results varied based on source of knowledge. The findings suggest that prevention efforts may have the greatest impact when targeting families of early developing girls, and later developing boys, and that incorporating a focus on specific sources of knowledge depending on the pubertal maturation profile of the adolescent may prove valuable in prevention/intervention efforts.


Pubertal timing Pubertal tempo Parental knowledge Adolescence Substance use 



We thank the many youths and their parents who willingly participated in iSAY, as well as the team of investigators. This manuscript was written with funding support through the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (R01 AA016838 and K02 AA021761, Jackson). Manuscript preparation was also supported in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (T32 DA016184, Marceau).

Authors’ Contributions

KM analyzed the data and drafted the manuscript. CA helped draft and edit the manuscript. KJ conceived and executed the larger study, and helped draft and edit the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Alcohol and Addiction StudiesBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.Rhode Island HospitalProvidenceUSA
  3. 3.SUNY BrockportBrockportUSA

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