Familial, Environmental, and Personal Predictors of Adolescent Drinking: A Bio-ecological Perspective


  • Miki Hakoyama Central Michigan University
  • Eileen E. MaloneBeach Human Environmental Studies, Central Michigan University




adolescent, environment, safety, alcohol, personality, siblings, structural equation modeling


Alcohol abuse by college students has become a major social issue. From a human ecological perspective, alcohol use, like other behaviors, occurs in interaction between person and environment. The current study examined parental, environmental and personal factors associated with drinking among young adults (N=1,208; aged 18 to 25). Paternal and maternal drinking, perceived parenting quality, residential safety, personality traits, and older siblings were included as ecological factors. More than 80% of the participants reported drinking alcohol; nearly 60% began before age 18, and 45.9% engaged in weekly drinking. The younger the age of alcohol initiation, the more frequent their drinking. An association between parental and children’s drinking was significant. Conversely, perceived parental quality contributed to delayed alcohol initiation. Further, structural equation modeling (SEM) revealed that residential safety contributed to higher parenting quality, which predicted delayed alcohol initiation while parental drinking predicted earlier alcohol initiation. Gender differences were revealed in effects of personal and parental characteristics on adolescent alcohol initiation. Same-gender effects suggest that father’s and mother’s drinking are likely to influence sons and daughters uniquely; parental factors, both positive and negative, as well as other environmental factors, deserve further study.