Adolescent alcohol use was found to be influenced by parental and peer alcohol use. Drinking behaviors also differed by gender. However, previous studies mainly focused on adolescents’ substance use in relation to the same substance use among their salient others. Hence, this study investigated the cross-substance relationships of alcohol and tobacco use of parents and peers with adolescents’ problematic alcohol use, separately by gender.
Data were derived from 4445 adolescents aged 12-17 years from the 2014 National Survey of Substance Use, a nationally representative survey in Taiwan. Problematic alcohol use was assessed using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). Multivariate multinomial logistic regression was used, stratified by gender.
For males, maternal (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.73) and peer (aOR = 2.57) alcohol use was related to social drinking (AUDIT < 2); paternal (aOR = 3.58), maternal (aOR = 2.18), peer alcohol use (aOR = 5.37), and their own tobacco use (aOR = 4.72) were related to problem drinking (AUDIT ≥ 2). For females, maternal (aOR = 2.26) and peer (aOR = 2.84) alcohol use was related to social drinking; maternal (aOR = 2.35) and peer tobacco use (aOR = 3.48), and paternal (aOR = 4.56) and peer alcohol use (aOR = 3.36) were linked to problem drinking.
Both male and female adolescents’ alcohol use was associated with their peer alcohol use, and gender differences were found in relation to their parental and peer substance use. Specifically, the parental role-modeling of smoking was only significant in mother-daughter dyads. These findings could inform multifaceted adolescent alcohol prevention programs, tailoring for males and females and also targeting their parental and peer substance use.