Taking Alcohol From One’s Parents’ Home Without Permission as a Risk Factor for Greater Alcohol and Marijuana Use During the Transition into College

While adolescents and underage emerging adults typically obtain alcohol from social sources (e.g., parents, friends, parties), taking alcohol from the home without permission is not well understood. The current study investigated plausible individual characteristics associated with taking alcohol from one’s parents’ home without permission and associations between taking alcohol and drinking, alcohol consequences, and marijuana use. Two cohorts of alcohol-experienced underage emerging adults (N = 562) completed a web-based survey pre-college matriculation. Participants reported sources of alcohol (friend, mother, father, party, took it from home); drinking; consequences; marijuana use (ever and past 30 days); age of alcohol initiation; symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress; parental modeling of drinking; and demographic information. Results revealed that taking alcohol was significantly associated with several of the measures examined here (e.g., having obtained alcohol from friends, parents, and parties; earlier age of alcohol initiation; parental modeling of alcohol). Having taken alcohol from the home without permission and obtained it from friends were uniquely associated with increased odds of typical weekly drinking, consequences, and marijuana use in the past 30 days when controlling for all other variables assessed in this study (including drinking, in the consequences and marijuana models). Parent-based interventions targeting adolescents and emerging adults should inform parents of the risks associated with taking alcohol from the home and obtaining it from friends. Further, parents should also be informed that supplying their adolescent with alcohol or modeling drinking may increase the likelihood that they take alcohol from their home.

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