Having authoritarian parents increases the risk of drug use in adolescents

June 11, 2014, Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT)

Alcohol, tobacco and cannabis use is very widespread among youths in Spain compared to the majority of European countries, according to the latest data from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

An international team, led by the European Institute of Studies on Prevention (IREFREA) with headquarters in Mallorca, together with other European and Spanish universities (Oviedo, Santiago de Compostela and Valencia), has analysed the role that parents play at the time of determining the risk of their children using alcohol, tobacco and cannabis in six European countries: Sweden, the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia and the Czech Republic.

The objective was to clarify the type of parent-child relationship that best protects children from taking drugs, using two variables: and affection.

"Our results support the idea that extremes are not effective: neither authoritarianism nor absence of control and affection. A good relationship with children works well. In this respect, it can go hand in hand with direct control (known as 'authoritative' or democratic style) or not (style wrongly called 'indulgent')," Amador Calafat, main author of the study published in the journal 'Drug and Alcohol Dependence', declared to SINC.

Four family styles according to their relationship with their children

Classification of families is the result of combining the behaviours adopted by various degrees of demand and responsibility. On the one hand, the authoritative model includes families that "give clear rules and affectionately and flexibly reason with the when asking for their compliance".

The authoritarian model coincides with the authoritative model in that both are demanding and controlling, but it differs in that mothers and fathers show less affection.

On the other hand, the fathers and mothers of the neglectful and indulgent models are characterised by their low level of control; however, the former are "scarcely affectionate" and the latter are "very emotional".

The results of the study, which coincide throughout Europe, indicate that the indulgent and authoritative models are those that work best, both for substance use and in personal disorders. "For self-esteem and school performance, it is still better when parents operate with the indulgent style," Calafat continued.

"This study allows a focus and common discussion in Europe in drug use prevention programmes," added the researcher. The results contrast with previous studies conducted in other cultural settings, where parental demand is "recommended" (mostly English-speakers from the USA) or "essential" (Asian cultures).

In total, 7,718 adolescents (3,774 males and 3,944 females), aged between 11 and 19, were interviewed. "From a global personal health perspective, the 'authoritative' and 'indulgent' parental styles equally protect against the use of drugs," Calafat said.

Until now, this last observation was exclusively associated with Mediterranean and South American countries. "However we also see that it is valid for many European countries," added the IREFREA researcher.

Explore further: Ruling with an iron fist could make your child pack on pounds

More information: Amador Calafat, Fernando García, Montse Juan, Elisardo Becoña, José Ramón Fernández-Hermida. "Which parenting style is more protective against adolescent substance use? Evidence within the European context". Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 138, 185-192.

Related Stories

Ruling with an iron fist could make your child pack on pounds

March 19, 2014
If you're rigid with rules and skimpy on affection and dialogue with your kids, they have a greater chance of being obese, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology & Prevention/Nutrition, ...

One in ten female German or British tourists holidaying in southern Europe suffers sexual harassment

June 24, 2013
The European Institute of Studies on Prevention (Irefrea) surveyed more than 6,000 people in various airports in Mediterranean countries during summer 2009 to find out the levels of harassment and sex against one's will that ...

An overview of drug approaches in Europe

April 10, 2014
Countries in Europe, even neighbours, have vastly different approaches to combating drug abuse.

How Asian American 'tiger mothers' motivate their children

May 16, 2014
An article titled "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior," published in The Wall Street Journal in 2011, has continued to provoke a cultural debate among parents after self-proclaimed 'tiger mother' Amy Chua asserted that Asian ...

Recommended for you

Marijuana use may not aid patients in opioid addiction treatment

December 4, 2017
Many patients who are being treated for opioid addiction in a medication-assisted treatment clinic use marijuana to help manage their pain and mood symptoms.

For opiate addiction, study finds drug-assisted treatment is more effective than detox

November 23, 2017
Say you're a publicly insured Californian with an addiction to heroin, fentanyl or prescription narcotics, and you want to quit.

Study finds medical cannabis is effective at reducing opioid addiction

November 17, 2017
A new study conducted by researchers at The University of New Mexico, involving medical cannabis and prescription opioid use among chronic pain patients, found a distinct connection between having the legal ability to use ...

Insomnia linked to alcohol-use frequency among early adolescents, says new psychology study

November 8, 2017
Insomnia is linked to frequency of alcohol use among early adolescents, according to new Rutgers University–Camden research.

Large declines seen in teen substance abuse, delinquency

October 25, 2017
More than a decade of data indicates teens have become far less likely to abuse alcohol, nicotine and illicit drugs, and they also are less likely to engage in delinquent behaviors, such as fighting and stealing, according ...

Trying to get sober? NIH offers tool to help find good care

October 3, 2017
The phone calls come—from fellow scientists and desperate strangers—with a single question for the alcohol chief at the National Institutes of Health: Where can my loved one find good care to get sober?

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.