Abstract: Parental Monitoring and Young Adolescent Susceptibility to Peer Group Social Norms (Society for Prevention Research 24th Annual Meeting)

263 Parental Monitoring and Young Adolescent Susceptibility to Peer Group Social Norms

Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Pacific D/L (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Rhea Marshall-Denton, MS, Doctoral Student, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada
Marie-Pier Dupré, MA, Doctoral Student, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada
Marie-Hélène Véronneau, PhD, Assistant Professor, Universitae du Quabec a  Montraeal, Montreal, QC, Canada
Thomas Dishion, PhD, Founder, Principal Investigator, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
Introduction: Early onset drinking behavior in adolescence is associated with increased risk for the development of subsequent substance use issues in high school and adulthood. Considering the amount of time young adolescents spend at school and their strong need for social approval and susceptibility to peer influence, youth perception of social norms at school is an important variable to examine when studying substance use at this age (Juvonen, 2002). In a preliminary study, we showed that perceiving alcohol use as normative within the peer group in young adolescence is predictive of an increase in use 2 years later. Moreover, because substance use, particularly at this age, is a socially embedded activity that often occurs without parents’ knowledge (Dishion, 2008), efforts to reduce substance use during this developmental period need to take into account not only the social influences at play outside of the home, but also parents’ ability to monitor their adolescent’s activities. This study verifies the hypothesis that parental monitoring is a protective factor for young adolescents who are at risk for substance use because of their perception of substance use as a normative behavior in their peer group. Moderation analyses are conducted using the PROCESS macro in SPSSv.21.

Methods: We recruited 1,278 participants in Oregon, who filled out paper-pencil questionnaires in class in Grades 6, 7 and 8. The Perception of Peer Group Norms Questionnaire is used to assess participants’ perceptions of peer substance use norms. Student substance use levels and parental monitoring are taken from The Student Self-Report Survey(SSRS: Dishion & Stormshack, 2001). Parental monitoring in Gr. 7 is tested as a moderator of the relation between student perception of substance use in Gr. 6 and student substance use in Gr. 8 while controlling for students’ initial levels of substance use in Gr. 6.

Results: Parental monitoring significantly moderates the relation between perceiving substance use as normative within the peer group in Gr. 6 and student’s increase in substance use by Gr. 8 (b=-.02, SE= .04, 95%, CI [-.1427, -.0.246]), p<0.01). In other words, having parents who demonstrate higher levels of parental monitoring attenuates the predictive effect of perceiving substance use as normative on individual use over time.

Conclusion: These results attest to the key role parents continue to play in promoting youth resistance to negative social influence beyond childhood. They also demonstrate the complexity of the underlying processes involved in the influence of social norms on adolescent behavior. Results suggest that parental monitoring may be considered as an important factor in prevention efforts that target youths’ perceptions of social norms to reduce substance use in young adolescence.