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Parental Psychological Control, Social Capital, Substance Use, and Driving Under the Influence among College Students: Sex Differences

Abstract

With a sample of college students in emerging adulthood (age range: 18–25), the current study investigated sex differences in the impact of parental psychological control and perceived social capital on three types of health-risk behaviors, including binge drinking, drug use, and driving under the influence (i.e., DUI). The moderation of social capital on the relations between parental psychological control and health-risk behaviors was also studied. The findings suggested that more paternal psychological control and less social capital were positively associated with binge drinking and drug use in men and all three types of risky behavior in women. However, maternal psychological control only predicted more binge drinking and drug use for women. Perceived social capital exacerbated the negative influence of paternal psychological control on males’ drinking behaviors, whereas it buffered the effect of paternal psychological control on females’ DUI behavior. Parenting programs need to focus on sex-specific parenting skills that can encourage children to develop internalized values and internalize positive social rules, attitudes, and behaviors. Prevention or intervention programs may consider enhancing the involvement of fathers in parenting and develop practices sensitive to paternal roles. Parents may consider capitalizing on community resources to facilitate female children’s socialization.

Highlights

  • Paternal psychological control predicted risky behaviors in men and women.

  • Maternal psychological control was a risk factor to women’s risk behaviors.

  • Perceived social capital exacerbated the negative influence of paternal psychological control on males’ drinking behaviors.

  • Perceived social capital buffered the effect of paternal psychological control on females’ driving under the influence behavior.

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Funding

This study was partially funded by the Better Options Initiative, a non-profit organization (PI: Yang Yang).

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Authors

Contributions

First and corresponding author conceptualized the study, performed data analyses, wrote the manuscript; the second author contributed to the conceptualization of the study and manuscript writing; third author contributed to the manuscript writing.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yang Yang.

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Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no competing interests.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the authors’ University Institutional Review Board (SP18-78PSYC) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent has been obtained prior to data collection.

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Yang, Y., Li, M. & Lin, HC. Parental Psychological Control, Social Capital, Substance Use, and Driving Under the Influence among College Students: Sex Differences. J Child Fam Stud 31, 1207–1219 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-021-02036-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-021-02036-9

Keywords

  • Psychological control
  • Perceived social capital
  • Binge drinking
  • Drug use
  • Driving under the influence