An observational study uses data from three generations to examine associations between parental, grandparental, and child substance use; current parental marijuana use was a strong predictor of youth marijuana and alcohol usage.
Substantial research evidence exists supporting the notion that cigarette, alcohol, and marijuana use among young individuals elevates the risk of eventual substance dependence, poorer academic attainment, and income issues among other concerns. Previous research has also identified social norms and familial substance abuse as robust predictors of future substance usage in children. The authors also raise the point that the movement toward the legalization of non-medical marijuana in the United States could hinder youth substance use prevention interventions. Participants were recruited from two prospective research projects: The SSDP intergenerational Project (TIP) and the Seattle Social Development Project (SSDP). The chief objective of this study was to use data from three generations in order to analyze the relationship between grandparental and parental marijuana use and cigarette, alcohol, marijuana and substance-related norms in children.
Results showed that neither parental nor grandparental marijuana use successfully predicted past cigarette use among children; although there was a positive link between current parental cigarette smoking and child cigarette use. Interestingly, past parental and grandparental marijuana use was not associated with alcohol or marijuana use in children. Current marijuana use among parents was positively linked to child marijuana use and alcohol drinking within the past year.
Due to the observational design of this study, it is not possible to determine the direction of the observed associations between the generations and child substance use. To summarize, this study’s results indicated that current parental marijuana use led to an increased probability of marijuana and alcohol use among child participants. These results imply that a higher parental usage of marijuana and alcohol in light of the legalization of marijuana might end up raising the probability of future alcohol and marijuana use amongst children.
Written By: Melissa Booker