Having An Overbearing Father Can Lead to Binge Drinking and Substance Use in Young Adults

A new study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies has found a link between psychological manipulative parents and the proclivity for health-risk behaviors in young adults.

In a survey of college students between the age of 18-25, those who reported having controlling parents were found to be more likely to partake in binge drinking, driving under the influence, and drudge use.

Interestingly, the study found that maternal psychological control did not seem to influence the prevalence of health-risk behaviors in young men, but was a predictive factor for binge drinking and drug use in young women.

Paternal psychological control, however, was found to influence health-risk behaviors in both young men and women. Young women with controlling fathers were at higher risk for all three health-risk behaviors surveyed in the study. Young men with paternal psychological control issues were at higher risk of two: binge drinking and drug use.

Of course, having an overbearing mother or father doesn’t guarantee health-risk behaviors in emerging adults — the child’s social relationships also plays a role. The joint study conducted by researchers from Texas Christian University and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette also delved into how perceived social capital might affect the proclivity to indulge in health-risk behaviors in young adults.

The study found that perceived social capital intensified binge drinking in young men who experienced paternal psychological control, but was a mitigating factor for the effects of paternal psychological control, specifically driving under the influence, in young women.

The study adds to the growing library of academic research that supports a correlation between psychological control and social behaviors that are detrimental to an individual’s health. The results emphasize the importance of healthy parental patterns and how they can affect a child’s long-term mental and physical health.

According to the writers: “Parenting programs need to focus on sex-specific parenting skills that can encourage children to develop internalized values and internalize positive social rules, attitudes, and behaviors.” They emphasize the crucial role of fathers in a child’s development: “Prevention or intervention programs may consider enhancing the involvement of fathers in parenting and develop practices sensitive to paternal roles. Parents may consider capitalizing on community resources to facilitate female children’s socialization.”

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