The Role of Parents in Underage Alcohol Use and Abuse

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 5
Words: 1373
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: PhD

Introduction

Underage drinking and alcohol consumption is increasingly becoming a major problem in today’s society. The number of young and underage alcohol consumers is growing by the day (Pedersen & Soest, 2013). Individuals serving and selling the drinks to young consumers are mainly blamed for this problem. However, it appears that socialisation is more to blame than the retailers. In the current paper, the author conducts a review of literature in a bid to understand the dynamics behind this issue. In addition, the review will address the role of the parents in promoting this behaviour among the young generation (Ward & Snow, 2008). Five journal articles will be analysed to achieve the objectives of the study. Thematic analysis is the methodology preferred for this review.

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Method

Search strategy

An integrative review of five articles related to the research question was carried out. The review addressed three themes developed in relation to the research objectives. A number of search terms and keywords were used to retrieve the articles from online databases. The following are the phrases used:

  • Alcohol use+ underage
  • Underage alcohol+ role of parents
  • Families+ alcohol consumption among teenagers
  • Underage drinking + factors

The following three search engines and databases were used to retrieve the articles:

  • Medline
  • CINAHL
  • Elsevier

Inclusion criteria

A total of 12 articles were generated from the search. An inclusion and exclusion standard was used to reduce the number to 5. Articles published before 2000 were excluded from the review. The same applied to resources that did not address the issue directly. Only articles from peer-reviewed journals were included.

Appraisal of the Quality of Articles Used

The 5 articles were reviewed and appraised for methodological quality using the Critical Appraisal Skills Program (CASP). The overall quality of each of them was rated and results were presented in the table below:

Table 1: Appraisal of articles.

Study Name (date) Study aim Study design Sample size Major findings Limitations Overall quality Generalisability of the findings General remarks
Article 1:Age at first alcohol use: A Risk factor for the development of alcohol disorders (2000) Analyse the course of DSM-III-R alcohol disorders as a function of age at first alcohol use.
Assess the impact of early use of alcohol as a risk factor for future alcohol disorders
Quantitative survey. 5856-lifetime drinkers Increased development of alcohol disorders among young first drinkers. Focus on patients reporting mental health Significant findings Not possible to generalise findings to individuals not reporting mental disorders Quite helpful
Article 2:
Longitudinal effects of age at onset and first drinking situations on problem drinking (2003)
Analyse first alcohol-use experience.
Assess the predictive links between age at first use, the context of initiation, and problem drinking.
Five-wave prospective study. 371. Most cases of initiation to alcohol use took place within the family setting.
Drinking at an early age increases the chances of problem drinking.
The major focus is family. The interaction between family and external agents was peripheral to the study. Informative findings The sample size makes it possible to generalise findings to other families in western nations. Informative article
Article 3:
The role of families in preventing alcohol-related harm among young people (2008)
Analyse how families impact alcohol consumption among the youth. Meta-analysis. Not applicable Parents need to be supported to help them deal with the issue of alcohol among their children. Failed to use primary data Though the paper relied on secondary data, it is very useful. Low generalisability. Informative, but with few limitations.
Article 4:
Socialisation to binge drinking: A population-based, longitudinal study with emphasis on parental influences (2013).
Highlight longitudinal predictors of young adult binge drinking. Population-based prospective survey. 2558. There is a socialisation of alcohol role modelling from parents to children.
The use of alcohol is moderately genetic.
Major focus on socialisation from parents. Other stakeholders were ignored. An insightful paper. Highly generalizable. Very useful.
Article 5:
Parental alcohol use, alcohol-related problems, and alcohol-specific attitudes, alcohol-specific communication, and adolescent excessive alcohol use and alcohol-related problems: An indirect path model (2011)
Examine the direct impacts of alcohol use among parents on adolescent alcoholic disorders. Quantitative. 428 families. Alcohol use among parents is positively related to alcoholic disorders among adolescents. The study focused on families from Denmark. High quality. Can be generalised to other families in the developed nations. Informative.

Synthesis

Similarities

All 5 studies addressed the issue of alcohol use among young adults. The authors analysed the relationship between this practice and family members. It was found that family members, especially parents, play an important role in adolescent drinking (Mares, Vorst, Engels & Lichtwarck-Aschoff, 2011; Pedersen & Soest, 2013)

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Differences

All the studies were conducted in different countries. In addition, different sample sizes and research methodologies were used. For example, Ward and Snow (2008) used meta-analysis, while the other four articles adopted statistical research methods.

Key conclusions

All 5 articles concluded that family members, especially parents, play an important role in the development of alcohol disorders among young adults. For example, Warner and White (2003) found that some adult drinkers were initiated into the habit within the family context at a young age. On their part, Ward and Snow (2008) indicate that parents need support from professionals to deal with alcoholism among adolescents.

Discussion

Adolescence and Alcohol Abuse

According to Pedersen and Soest (2013), young adults are not ignorant or delusional. They appear to act rationally like other human beings. According to Warner and White (2003), alcohol abuse among adolescents can be brought about by reduced parental monitoring and control. A clear illustration of this entails the private parties hosted by adults at homes in the presence of the children. Some of these occasions expose young people to alcohol use and abuse (Warner & White, 2003).

Factors that Encourage Alcohol use among Young People

According to Mares et al. (2011), there are a number of factors that encourage underage drinking. On their part, Ward and Snow (2008) list a number of elements that promote alcohol abuse among adolescent youth. The similarity between the lists provided by Mares et al. (2011) and Ward and Snow (2008) is quite significant. A number of common elements stand out as promoters of underage drinking.

One factor is the gender of the individual and their friends. According to DeWit, Adlaf, Offord, and Ogborne (2000), girls are more likely to use alcohol than boys. The reason for this is peer influence. Similarly, both genders have increased possibilities of alcohol use in the midst of members of the opposite sex (Ward & Snow, 2008).

The second element entails advertisements concerning alcohol. The promotional campaigns lead to the development of positive attitudes regarding alcohol use among the youths (DeWit et al., 2000). The marketing and packaging of these drinks have also been known to contribute to underage drinking. The presence of ready-to-drink and sweetened alcoholic beverages has led to high levels of approval among adolescents. In most cases, the users ignore the alcoholic content in the drinks (Pedersen & Soest, 2013).

The Role of Parents in Underage Alcohol Abuse

A number of studies have established a relationship between abuse of alcohol among adolescents and dependency on this drug in adulthood. A positive link also exists between alcohol abuse on one hand and future health and social inequalities on the other. To this end, adolescent drinking is a predictor of regular alcohol use in the future. According to Ward and Snow (2008), the family plays a vital role in influencing character and behaviour.

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The relationship between young people and members of their families, especially parents and guardians, has been found to influence drinking patterns. Strong and supportive relationships reduce the likelihood of underage drinking and alcohol abuse. The same applies to families with role model parents who delay and disapprove of underage drinking (Pedersen & Soest, 2013).

Conclusion

Alcohol abuse among young people is brought about by a number of factors. Parents play a significant role in promoting or dissuading this habit among these individuals. The parent is charged with the responsibility of nurturing the child to ensure that they are capable of dealing with issues arising in life on their own. Failure to play this role exposes the child to risks of alcohol abuse. The youth resorts to this drug to deal with unresolved issues in life.

References

DeWit, D., Adlaf, E., Offord, D., & Ogborne, A. (2000). Age at first alcohol use: A risk factor for the development of alcohol disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry, 157(5), 745-750.

Mares, S., Vorst, H., Engels, R., & Lichtwarck-Aschoff, A. (2011). Parental alcohol use, alcohol-related problems, and alcohol-specific attitudes, alcohol-specific communication, and adolescent excessive alcohol use and alcohol-related problems: An indirect path model. Addictive Behaviours, 36(3), 209-216.

Pedersen, W., & Soest, T. (2013). Socialisation to binge drinking: A population-based, longitudinal study with emphasis on parental influences. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 133(2), 587-592.

Ward, B., & Snow, P. (2008). The role of families in preventing alcohol-related harm among young people. Web.

Warner, L., & White, H. (2003). Longitudinal effects of age at onset and first drinking situations on problem drinking. Substance Use & Misuse, 38(14), 1983-2016.

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