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Which parenting style is more protective against adolescent substance use? Evidence within the European context
Calafat A, Garcia F, Juan M, Becoña E. and Fernandez-Hermida J.R .
(2014) Drug and Alcohol Dependence. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.02.705.


Background: This study examines whether authoritative parenting style (characterized by warmth and strictness) is more protective against adolescent substances use than authoritarian (strictness but not warmth), indulgent (warmth but not strictness) and neglectful (neither warmth nor strictness) parenting styles. Emergent research in diverse cultural contexts (mainly Southern European and Latin American countries) questions the fact that authoritative would always be the optimum parenting style. Design: Multi-factorial MANOVAs. Participants: A sample of 7,718 adolescents, 3,774 males (48.9%), 11 to 19 year-olds (M = 14.63 year-olds, SD = 1.9 years) from Sweden, United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic. Measurements: Parenting style dimensions (warmth and strictness) and adolescent substance use (alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs); additionally another three adolescent outcomes were also measured (self-esteem, school performance and personal disturbances) all of them related in the literature with substance use. Findings: Both indulgent and  authoritative parenting styles were associated with better outcomes than authoritarian and neglectful parenting in all the countries studied. Overall, our results support the idea that in Europe the indulgent parenting style performs as well as the authoritative one since adolescents’ scores in the youth outcomes were equal (on substance use and personal disturbances) or even better (on self esteem and school performance) than for authoritative parenting style. Conclusions: Parenting styles relate to substance use and other outcomes in the same way in different countries explored. The so called indulgent parenting style appears to be as good as the authoritative in protecting against substance abuse.

Keywords: Youth substances use, Youth outcomes, Family socialization, Parental Warmth,Parental Strictness, Parenting styles.