Revista Adolescência e Saúde

Revista Oficial do Núcleo de Estudos da Saúde do Adolescente / UERJ

NESA Publicação oficial
ISSN: 2177-5281 (Online)

Vol. 13 nº 4 - Oct/Dec - 2016


Páginas 89 a 97

Perceived parenting styles and alcohol consumption among adolescents: sistematic review of studies

Estilos parentales percibidos y el consumo de alcohol entre adolescentes: revisión sistemática de estudios empíricos

Estilos parentais percebidos e o consumo de álcool entre adolescentes: revisão sistemática de estudos empíricos

Autores: Karina de Souza Martins1; Daniela Ribeiro Schneider2

1. Master's Degree in Psychology, Graduate Studies Program in Psychology,, Santa Catarina Federal University (UFSC). Florianópolis, Santa Catarina State, Brazil. Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, Blumenau Regional University Foundation (FURB). Blumenau, Santa Catarina State, Brazil
2. Post-Doctoral Student, Valencia University (UV). Valencia, Spain. Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, Santa Catarina Federal University. Professor, Graduate Studies Program in Psychology, Santa Catarina Federal University (UFSC). Florianópolis, Santa Catarina State, Brazil

Karina Martins Moreno
Núcleo de Pesquisas em Clínica da Atenção Psicossocial (Psiclin) - Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina - Campus Universitário
Trindade, Caixa postal 476, Sala 214 - Bloco D - CFH
Florianópolis, SC, Brasil. CEP: 88040-900

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How to cite this article

Keywords: Parent-child relations, adolescent, alcoholic beverages.
Palabra Clave: Relaciones padres-hijo, adolescente, bebidas alcohólicas.
Descritores: Relações pais-filho, adolescente, bebidas alcoólicas.

OBJECTIVE: Analyze the relation between perceived parenting styles and alcohol consumption among adolescents.
DATA SOURCES: The articles were researched in three databases, PubMed, PsycINFO and MEDLINE with the following keywords: 'parental style' incombination with 'alcohol', 'substance abuse disorders', 'addiction', 'drug abuse', 'drug dependence', 'drugs' and 'substance use'.
DATA SYNTHESIS: The study indicate that the authoritative parenting style is associated with low levels of alcohol, and negligent and authoritarian styles tend to increase the chances of their use; research on the indulgent style is still inconclusive.
CONCLUSION: The results appear to be linked to the fact that parenting styles are highly dependent on the cultural aspects, so the identified inconsistencies can be attributed to the contexts in which the studies were conducted.

OBJETIVO: Analizar la relación entre los estilos parentales percibidos y el consumo de alcohol entre adolescentes.
FUENTES DE DATOS: Los artículos fueron investigados en tres bancos de datos, PubMed, PsycINFO y MedLine, con los siguientes descriptivos: 'parental style' con las combinaciones: 'alcohol, 'substance abuse disorders', 'addiction', 'drug abuse' 'drug dependence', 'drugs' y 'substance use.
SÍNTESIS DE LOS DATOS: El estudio indicó que el estilo parental de autorización está relacionado a bajos índices de consumo de alcohol, y los estilos negligente y autoritario tienden a aumentar las chances de uso; pesquisas acerca del estilo indulgente todavía no son concluyentes.
CONCLUSIÓN: Los resultados parecen estar asociados al hecho de los estilos parentales ser altamente dependientes de aspectos culturales, así como las inconsistencias identificadas pueden ser atribuidas a los contextos en los cuales los estudios fueron realizados.

OBJETIVO: Analisar a relação entre os estilos parentais percebidos e o consumo de álcool entre adolescentes.
FONTES DE DADOS: Os artigos foram pesquisados em três bancos de dados, PubMed, PsycINFO e MedLine, com os seguintes descritores: 'parental style' com as combinações: 'alcohol, 'substance abuse disorders', 'addiction', 'drug abuse' 'drug dependence', 'drugs' e 'substance use.
SÍNTESE DOS DADOS: O estudo indicou que o estilo parental autoritativo está relacionado aos baixos índices de consumo de álcool, e os estilos negligente e autoritário tendem a aumentar as chances de uso; pesquisas acerca do estilo indulgente ainda são inconclusivas.
CONCLUSÃO: Os resultados parecem estar associados ao fato dos estilos parentais serem altamente dependentes de aspectos culturais, assim as inconsistências identificadas podem ser atribuídas aos contextos nos quais os estudos foram realizados.


Abusive consumption of psychoactive substances ranks among the nine social phenomena with severe effects on adolescent development1. Experimenting with drugs is viewed as quite usual among young people, with alcohol posting the highest figures among the substances consumed in several countries 2.

Alcohol consumption is acknowledged for its multi-determinant characteristics, with the family context being one of the most influential domains, in terms of starting and continuing to drink ³. Parenting style is ranked as one of the most important aspects of this process, consisting of the way in which parents deal with their offspring, impose rules and exercise authority over them4.

Theoretical models of parenting styles derive from surveys based on socialization processes5. Parental attitudes to discipline, control, affection and responsiveness are the main dimensions taken into consideration in this field of investigation, reflecting the constructs and various measurement tools in this field6.

Baldwin7 is viewed as the first author to identify the link between parental styles of raising their children and subsequent behaviors among their offspring. Subsequently, Schaefer8 introduced the term "parenting style" and proposed a model based on two continuous dimensions: control/discipline and affection/warmth.

Baumrind9 described three parenting styles: authoritative, authoritarian and permissive. His initial studies focused on the influence of authority standards deployed by parents, articulating and extending the concept of parental control5. In one of his research projects, he notes that the authoritative style is linked to better outcomes10.

In the current context, the four parenting styles most widely used were proposed by Maccoby and Martin11, and are structured on two dimensions: responsiveness and demandingness. In this model, parents scoring high in both dimensions are called authoritative; those scoring high for responsiveness and low for demandingness are indulgent; parents scoring high for demandingness and low for responsiveness are authoritarian; and those scoring low for both dimensions are classified as negligent11.

There are many studies highlighting the influence of parenting styles on adolescent well-being 12, in addition to underscoring the key role played by drug use or avoidance among young people. In this specific field, parenting styles serve as risk and protection factors13.

A recent paper reviewed studies published during the past thirty years, exploring links between parenting styles and drug consumption among adolescents and stressing that the most protective parenting style was the authoritative type, when alcohol was considered as the outcome, while the negligent style was a risk factor for consumption; there was no clear position on the indulgent and authoritarian styles 4.

Despite surveys indicating evidence of associations, studies of parenting styles and drug use among adolescents generally constitute an incipient field for investigation, with inconclusive information on which parenting style is the most protective or offers the highest risks for drug consumption by youngsters 14.

Identifying which of the parenting styles is the most beneficial for childhood development is important, as this is the time when relationships established with parents tend to foster development, helping lower future risks, in addition to providing theoretical input for designing interventions, especially those focused on preventing drug use15.

As outlined above, the objective of this systematic review is to analyze empirical research projects striving to assess the links between perceived parenting styles and alcohol consumption among adolescents.


The databases selected for this research project were PubMed, PsycINFO and MedLine, using the following search descriptors: 'parental style' combined with 'alcohol, 'substance abuse disorders', 'addiction', 'drug abuse' 'drug dependence', 'drugs' and 'substance use'. This search covered only papers published between 2004 to 2014, in Portuguese, English and Spanish.

This survey found 899 papers referenced in the PubMed, PsycINFO and MedLine databases. After reading their abstracts, studies were included that met the following criteria: a) research projects described as longitudinal, surveys or case studies; b) presentation of clearly-defined objectives, methods and results in the abstract; c) participant age between 10 and 24 years old; d) alcohol presented as an outcome; and e) use of the term "parenting style" in either the title or the abstract.

Out of this initial total, 98 papers met the inclusion criteria. In order to remove papers repeated in the databases and those failing to follow the objectives of this review, a total of nine papers were excluded from this study.

For this review, the results are structured into two stages. Initially, after the papers were read, analysis categories were defined based on the descriptions of the methodological aspects used in the studies.

The categories are defined as follows:

• Year and country of publication: Year and country of publication of the papers.

• Objective: Objective of the study.

• Description of the Research Project: Description of the research project as cross-sectional or longitudinal.

• Number of Participants: Number of adolescents constituting the sample.

• Participant Gender: Sample choice distinguished by adolescent gender, male or female.

• Data Collection technique: Identification of techniques used to gather empirical data: a) direct observation; b) interviews; c) questionnaire.

• Standardized Tool: Specification of standardized tools used to measure parenting styles.

Subsequently, a quantitative analysis was undertaken in order to explore in greater depth the association between parenting styles and alcohol consumption by adolescents.


Methodological characteristics and aspects of the studies

Interest in exploring parenting styles and links to alcohol consumption among adolescents remains steady throughout the past decade, particularly 2012 (N=3) and 2009 (N=2). The countries producing the most studies on this topic were the USA (N=4) and Spain (N=3). In terms of the types of empirical studies analyzed, eight (N=08) of them were cross-sectional, and only one (N=1) was longitudinal. All the studies were conducted with samples of adolescent boys and girls.

Table 1 confirms the diversity of tools used to measure parenting styles, with six tools used in a total of nine studies. The Parental Authority Questionnaire was used in three (N=3) surveys, and the Parental Control Scale and Warmth/Affection Scale in (N=2) studies respectively.

It is noted that all parenting styles studies are measured by formally structured tools with dimensions and response scales. Three studies used tools with items derived from the parental authority model proposed by Baumrind9 (authoritarian, permissive, authoritative); Four studies use measurements through items derived from the two dimensions (responsiveness and demandingness) proposed by Maccoby and Martin11. One was based on the dimensions proposed by Darling and Steinberg5 (acceptance/implication and severity/imposition), and one was based on Schaefer8 and the acceptance and control dimensions.

Analysis of the Results

For the link between parenting styles and alcohol consumption among adolescents, the authoritative style appeared as a protection factor, associated with low consumption rates21. In the Brazilian context, Benchaya et al.24 identified that adolescents perceiving their parents as authoritative were 2.8 times less likely to consume alcohol, compared to the other parenting styles, and the parenting styles perceived as indulgent, negligent and authoritarian presented significant associations with alcohol consumption.

Patock-Peckham and Morgan-Lopez17 also felt that the authoritative parenting style offered the most protection. These authors noted that authoritative outcomes offer protection against feelings of parental rejection, which may lower the odds of developing depression symptoms and consequently lessening alcohol related problems.

Another study noted that adolescents perceiving their parents as authoritative and indulgent presented similar results on the prevalence of alcohol consumption, being associated with lower consumption levels19. Furthermore, the indulgent style appeared as the most protective parenting style, outstripping the authoritative style20,23.

Some studies explored the influence of parenting styles on the link between adolescents and alcohol consumption through associated variables. Patock-Peckham et al.16 found that the link between indulgent parents of the same gender as the child did not foster the development of self-regulatory characteristics, which is acknowledged as a protective factor for alcohol consumption. Furthermore, relationships between youngsters and indulgent parents may also step up impulsiveness which tends to weaken controls over youthful drinking behavior, thus increasing alcohol consumption and the problems related its use18. However, Patock-Packham and Morgan-Lopez17 also noted that indulgent parents had higher odds of their offspring becoming independent, characterized as a protecting them against depression and rated as a variable related to alcohol consumption.

Perceiving a father as authoritarian may leave young males feeling overprotected, possibly leading to low self-esteem that may trigger an upsurge in depression symptoms and consequently step up alcohol related problems, in this case, significant for adolescent boys. Moreover, the authoritarian style is associated with the development of neurotic symptoms and pathological reasons for alcohol consumption17.

The negligent style, which is traditionally related to the worst outcomes, was associated with the worst results19,20. However, in the analyzed studies, the authoritarian style also appeared as a risk factor23. In the study by Ozner et al.22 no significant interactions were identified between perceived parenting styles and alcohol consumption among adolescents.


The origin of investigations into the complex set of behaviors deployed by parents while bringing up their children dates back to Baldwin7. Based on the results of this review, it is noted that after some seven decades, key contributions are still appearing on this phenomenon. Steady progress in this field continues, and we identified an upsurge in output during the past decade, with more papers published in 2009 and 2012.

The tools identified in the studies reflect conceptual variations of parenting styles. The theoretical models proposed by Baumrind9 and Maccoby and Martin11 were more noteworthy in the association to alcohol consumption by adolescents. According to Sorkhabi25, this theoretical standpoint firmed up in the USA, corroborating the predominance of research projects conducted and deriving from the US context that extends the epistemological perspective.

With regard to the methodological aspects addressed in this review, there is a predominance of cross-sectional studies and the exclusive use of standardized questionnaires. In terms of studies exploring parenting styles links to childhood development, the literature suggests that a longitudinal approach should be adopted as this fosters ongoing exploration of socialization processes4, and the use of a variety of techniques, including observations and interviews, which are recommended for easier confirmation of replies from the adolescents26.

However, although the vast majority of the studies encompassed significant numbers of participants, the samples are small in some papers: between 100 and 500, which is viewed as a limiting factor for generalization4.

In the results of the studies addressed by this review, the authoritative style appears as the most protective, associated with the lowest levels of alcohol consumption among adolescents. For Steinberg and Silk27, there could be three reasons for this: homeostasis between control over offspring and the possibility of developing independence; reciprocal communications, which tend to foster intellectual progress and psycho-social skills generally; and affection and understanding as qualities that generally improve parental socialization, ensuring that children are more receptive to them.

These statements are compatible with the cultural equivalence standpoint, which believes that the general characteristics and assumptions of the authoritative style are consistent across all cultural groups25,28. From this standpoint, for adolescents to develop characteristics related to self-monitoring, empathy and a sense of sociability, they share the same socialization needs, rated as basic, such as feeling loved, protected and respected29.

Furthermore, this standpoint affirms that adolescents also need guidance until they are cognitively and emotionally mature enough to deal with the demands of youth, shaped by the characteristics of their community or society. Thus, the characteristics of this standpoint confirm that the authoritative style implies practices that are important for all adolescents, precisely because these needs are ranked as universal29.

On the other hand, some studies showed that the indulgent style is also associated with lower alcohol consumption levels, as noted in studies conducted in Europe, where the indulgent style was identified as more protective. This demarcation explores whether the authoritative style effectively encompasses the best socialization characteristics of the parents for alcohol use prevalence among their offspring.

These findings are directly related to the understanding that the affection variable, identified in both the indulgent and authoritative styles, may constitute the best contribution in this field, rather than the control variable, which is predominant in both the authoritative and authoritarian styles 4.

However, in two studies - conducted in the USA and Brazil - the indulgent style appears as a risk factor for alcohol consumption among youngsters. This evidences coincides with the assumption that levels of inconsistency may be related to issues linked to ethnicity, culture and social and economic status5.

Confirmed in the findings of a recent review of the literature, the negligent style tends to increase alcohol consumption risks4. However, among the results analyzed in this review, the authoritarian style is also characterized as influencing alcohol use among adolescents.

Another theoretical standpoint striving to explain these differences is based on specific cultural characteristics9. This approach believes that parental values and socialization targets are different in cultures ranked as individualistic and collectivistic, so that parents in different cultures engage in parenting actions in qualitatively unequal ways. It is also felt that any single parenting style may have different effects on youngsters in different cultures, and that adolescents in different cultures interpret the same parenting style in different ways.

Among the papers examined in this review, it seems clear that adolescent perceptions of the authoritative style are related to low alcohol use levels. The authoritarian and negligent parenting styles are related to higher consumption rates. For the indulgent style, there are still discrepancies over its role in associations with consumption. These findings seem to be linked to the fact that parenting styles are highly dependent on cultural aspects, while the discrepancies noted may be attributed to contexts within which the studies were conducted.


It may be noted that family influence was significant in the various contexts researched, confirming that parenting styles play an important function in alcohol consumption among adolescents.

These results indicate the need for constant assessments of parenting style influence, due to either cultural characteristics or specific factors related to each psychoactive substance. It seems vital to bear in mind that these differences may help direct preventive strategies, as they tend to alter links between parenting styles and their role in drug consumption, risk and protection.

For new research proposals, it is suggested that differentiated samples be used in order to analyze the influence of culture on parenting styles, also with greater emphasis on links with psychoactive substances, bridging gaps and enhancing the possibilities of proving the theoretical model.


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