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Laura Finan

Mentor Department



Families are complex systems with each member influencing all others (Cox & Paley, 1997). Family factors like parental problem drinking have been consistently shown to predict a range of adverse adolescent adjustment outcomes, including alcohol and other substance use (Caspi et al., 2018; Park & Schepp, 2014). However, other family factors, such as sibling relationships, may serve as protective or additive risk factors in influencing adolescent behavior. Limited extant research has investigated the role of sibling relationship characteristics in the context of parental problem drinking (Rueter et al., 2015).Therefore, the current study examined if hostility and warmth in sibling relationships served as risk or protective factors in the relationship between maternal and paternal problem drinking and adolescents’alcohol and drug use.Data were drawn from the Adolescent Adjustment Project (Ohannessian, 2009), which survey adolescents from seven Mid-Atlantic State public high schools in Spring 2007 (Mage=16.08; SD=.69;55% female). Only adolescents who reported having a single sibling were included (N=373). Adolescents were asked how often in the last 6 months they (a) used marijuana, sedatives, stimulants, inhalants,hallucinogens, cocaine or crack, and opiates (drug use frequency) and (b) how much and how often theydrank beer, wine, and liquor (alcohol use quantity and frequency). The Short Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (Crews & Sher, 1992) measured adolescents’ perceptions of their mother’s and father’salcohol use problems. Scale items were summed such that greater scores represented greater maternal(MPD; α=.60) and paternal (PPD; α=.84) problem drinking. Finally, the Sibling Relationship Questionnaire (Slomkowski et al., 2001) was used to assess adolescents’ perceptions of warmth (α=.89)and hostility (α=.87) with their sibling.Regression analyses were used examine associations between sibling relationship characteristics, parental problem drinking, and adolescents’ substance use. Separate models were conducted for MPD and PPD,and structural elements of sibling relationships were controlled (Table 1). Only PPD was positivelyassociated with adolescents’ alcohol use (Model-2). However, sibling hostility and MPD (Model-3) and sibling hostility and PPD (Model-4) were positively associated with drug use. Further, sibling hostility and PPD interacted to predict drug use (B=.14, p


Authors: Sara Kurbyun, Ashley Adams, Daniela Pancrazio-Diaz, Alexis Parrish, Laura Finan, Christine Ohanessian

Parental Problem Drinking and Adolescent Substance Use: The Moderating Role of Sibling Relationships

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