Parental and peer disapproval of alcohol use and its relationship to adolescent drinking: Age, gender, and racial differences

Academic Article


  • This study examined age, gender, and racial differences in parental and peer disapproval of alcohol use and in the relationship of these injunctive norms with drinking during adolescence. Participants included 20,239 students ages 11-19 years (average age 14.34; 47% boys; 46% White and 54% Black) from 2 large urban and suburban school districts. Youth responded to a cross-sectional, school-administered Pride Survey in the spring of 2004. Adolescents reported how often they used alcohol in the past year and their perceptions of peer and parental disapproval of alcohol use. The results revealed that youth perceived higher disapproval from parents than peers throughout adolescence, but this parent-peer disparity in norms increased with age as a result of steeper decline in peer than parental disapproval. Black youth perceived lower disapproval from both peers and parents than Whites in earlier but not later adolescence. Girls reported higher perceptions of both parental and peer disapproval than boys throughout adolescence. Alcohol use was more strongly related to peer than parental norms, and the effect of parental and peer disapproval on abstinence was larger among older youth. Peer norms were more closely associated with alcohol use in girls than boys. Both parent and peer injunctive norms were also more strongly related to alcohol use in White than Black adolescents. Parental disapproval of drinking amplified the link between peer disapproval and lower alcohol use. These findings suggest that interventions should target both parental and peer disapproval throughout adolescence, particularly among White youth. © 2012 American Psychological Association.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 20829294
  • Author List

  • Mrug S; McCay R
  • Start Page

  • 604
  • End Page

  • 614
  • Volume

  • 27
  • Issue

  • 3