Can Social Learning Theory Inform Risk and Protective Factors for Adolescent Substance Abuse? Assessing The Impact of Parental Participation in Alcohol/Drug Treatment on Adolescent Alcohol/Drug Use

Laurie Drapela, Washington State University, Vancouver
Clayton Mosher, Washington State University, Vancouver

Parental substance abuse has long been considered a risk factor for adolescent substance abuse, a finding consistent with a Social Learning Theory perspective on deviance. However, parents' prosocial activities regarding substance abuse have received scant attention in the adolescent substance abuse risk/protective factors literature. This omission seems illogical, for, if parental substance abuse promotes adolescent drug use by providing opportunities for modeling deviant behavior, then couldn't parental participation in alcohol/drug treatment inhibit substance abuse among adolescents by modeling prosocial, proactive ways of dealing with substance abuse? On a broader level, does parental participation in alcohol/drug treatment serve as a protective factor for youth substance abuse? This study seeks to answer these questions using data from a survey of approximately 800 households in Washington state. Findings will be interpreted from a Social Learning Theory perspective and policy recommendations will be articulated (if appropriate).

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Updated 05/20/2006