Intergenerational Transmission of Problem Behavior: Effects of Parent's Prior Adolescent Substance Use on Late Behavior Problems in Their Children

Karl G. Hill, University of Washington
Ick-Joong Chung, University of Washington
J. David Hawkins, University of Washington
Richard F. Catalano, University of Washington

This study seeks to identify possible residential effects of adolescent substance use of parents on the development of their children, both for parents who have desisted and for those who have not desisted from that use. Second, we examine the social developmental mechanisms of these effects (for example, through continued substance use or social and occupational problems). Data are drawn from the Seattle Social Development Project, a 15-year longitudinal study that has followed 808 youths from elementary school to adulthood. The panel members are now aged 24 and are having and raising children of their own: 211 of the 808 are currently living with their biologial children. Using regression analysis and structural equation modeling, this paper examines the effects of substance use during the ages of 13 to 18 on subsequent develolpmental problems in their children when the primary sample is age 24. Several mechanisms linking prior adolescent substance use and their childeren's outcomes are tested, including: adult drug use, family management practices, family and partner conflict, social support, educational attainment, and employment. Child developmental problems examined include aggression, oppositionality and hgyperactivity. Significance of the findings are discussed with reference to incorporating multigenerational studies into prevention research and programs.

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Updated 05/20/2006