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Nurturant-involved parenting and adolescent substance use: Examining an internalizing pathway through adolescent social anxiety symptoms and substance refusal efficacy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 December 2017

Bridget B. Weymouth*
Pennsylvania State University
Gregory M. Fosco
Pennsylvania State University
Mark E. Feinberg
Pennsylvania State University
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Bridget B. Weymouth, Methodology Center, Pennsylvania State University, 404 Health and Human Development Building, University Park, PA 16802; E-mail:


Research has clearly established the important role of parents in preventing substance use among early adolescents. Much of this work has focused on deviance (e.g., antisocial behavior, delinquency, and oppositional behavior) as a central pathway linking parenting behaviors and early adolescent substance use. This study proposed an alternative pathway; using a four-wave longitudinal design, we examined whether nurturant-involved parenting (Fall sixth grade) was inversely associated with adolescent drunkenness, marijuana use, and cigarette use (eighth grade) through social anxiety symptoms (Spring sixth grade) and subsequent decreases in substance refusal efficacy (seventh grade). Nurturant-involved parenting is characterized by warmth, supportiveness, low hostility, and low rejection. Analyses were conducted with a sample of 687 two-parent families. Results indicated that adolescents who were in families where fathers exhibited lower levels of nurturant-involved parenting experienced subsequent increases in social anxiety symptoms and decreased efficacy to refuse substances, which in turn was related to more frequent drunkenness, cigarette use, and marijuana use. Indirect effects are discussed. Findings were not substantiated for mothers’ parenting. Adolescent gender did not moderate associations. The results highlight an additional pathway through which parenting influences youth substance use and links social anxiety symptoms to reduced substance refusal efficacy.

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This project was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01 DA013709), the Karl R. and Diane Wendle Fink Early Career Professorship for the Study of Families, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under award numbers P50 DA039838 and T32DA017629. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute on Drug Abuse or the National Institutes of Health. We gratefully acknowledge the contributions to the success of this project by the participating youth and families and the PROSPER staff.


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Nurturant-involved parenting and adolescent substance use: Examining an internalizing pathway through adolescent social anxiety symptoms and substance refusal efficacy
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Nurturant-involved parenting and adolescent substance use: Examining an internalizing pathway through adolescent social anxiety symptoms and substance refusal efficacy
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Nurturant-involved parenting and adolescent substance use: Examining an internalizing pathway through adolescent social anxiety symptoms and substance refusal efficacy
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