The 1st paper, “Moderators of Intergenerational (Dis)Continuity in Substance Use,” considers primarily African American fathers and children, and compares the two generations on marijuana and other substance use across adolescence. Whereas one might expect IG continuities, discontinuities are common and informative to prevention (e.g., if fathers with moderate trajectories have children who abstain). The authors identify fathers’ adult substance use as a key moderator of IG continuity, but find that it depends on when in the child’s life it occurs.
In the 2nd paper, “Intergenerational Transmission of Substance Use and Problem Behavior,” the authors consider risk processes across three generations (G1-G3) of rural White participants. They examine questions about the familial antecedents and sequelae of G2 boys’ and girls’ alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use in the context of other closely associated problems—namely, harsh parenting, aggression, and depression—that are perpetuated across generations.
The 3rd paper, “Father-Child Similarities in Patterns and Onset of Polysubstance Use during Adolescence,” applies survival analyses and mixture modeling to fathers and their offspring. Within each generation the team identifies latent classes of adolescents who are similar in terms of the timing of use onset and the types of substances used (alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and other drugs). Then the authors use fathers’ polysubstance use onset class during adolescence to predict their offspring class. As symposium coordinators, this team also considers constructs examined in the other two papers—by including parent substance use during G3 early childhood (paper 1) as a predictor of G3 onset class, and by specifying the associations G2 and G3 onset classes have with G3 aggression (paper 2).
Finally, a discussant from a 4th IG study will offer critique and commentary. She will identify how these papers—and IG studies at large—inform etiological models and have implications for enhancing parent- and family-focused prevention of substance abuse.