Donate Child Support Calculator
Skip navigation

Involved dads reduce problem drinking in daughters

Involved dads reduce problem drinking in daughters
Tuesday, 15 March 2011

by Myles Gough
Cosmos Online

According to new research, young adults whose parents monitor their social interactions may be less likely to display impulsive behaviour and to have alcohol-related problems - particularly if the parent is of the opposite gender.

SYDNEY: Impulsive behavioural traits linked to alcohol-related problems in young adults are less likely when parents of the opposite gender are perceived to closely monitor their social interactions, a new study suggests.

The study looked at different parenting styles to gauge their effectiveness and focussed on parents individually rather than grouping them as a unit. The results showed that higher parental monitoring by mothers and fathers can reduce the likelihood of opposite gender children developing a problematic relationship with alcohol.

Most people seem to think that women will grow up fine if they just have a good mother around, but this suggests just how important the presence of an involved father can be to the behavioural regulation of women, said lead author Julie Patock-Peckham, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor University in Texas.

Dont forget about dad

Past studies have shown that lower parental monitoring - the extent to which parents are familiar with their childrens friends, whereabouts and social lives while growing up - can contribute to riskier behaviours in adolescent youth including drug and alcohol abuse, and increased delinquency.

The value of parental monitoring in preventing impulsive behaviour has been previously documented, but because this study looked at fathers and mothers separately, it was able to link the development of impulsive traits to the monitoring role of opposite gender parents.

Our findings suggest that for impulsiveness, cross-gender parental monitoring may be important, said Patock-Peckham of the report published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. This just means that researchers need to always measure influences from both parents simultaneously  If we forget about fathers we only get half the story.

Evaluating parenting styles

Researchers examined three parenting styles: authoritarian, authoritative and permissive. Authoritarian parents set strict rules but show little interest in their childrens social lives; authoritative parents set rules but play a more active role in their childrens social interactions; and permissive parents tend to behave more like friends, with very little social monitoring.

They surveyed 581 U.S. college students, asking them how they perceived their parents  distinguishing between mother and father  and about their own alcohol-related behaviours. They then created a model to test this data, conducting statistical analyses to achieve their results.

The study found that daughters who perceived their fathers to be permissive and less aware of their social interactions were indirectly linked to more alcohol-related problems due to more impulsive symptoms.

However, perceptions by daughters of an authoritative father with stronger monitoring of their social lives were indirectly linked to fewer impulsive traits. These results were similar when observing the relationship between sons and their mothers.

Recent Tweets