Are changes in parenting related to the decline in youth drinking? Evidence from a comparison of Sweden and Denmark
journal contributionposted on 2022-06-06, 06:57 authored by Mats Ramstedt, Jonas RaninenJonas Raninen, Peter Larm
Introduction: The aim of this study was to replicate earlier studies suggesting that changes in parenting have contributed to the recent decline in youth drinking by comparing parenting in a country experiencing a sharp decline in youth drinking (Sweden) with a country with only a small decline (Denmark). Data and analysis: Data stem from self-reported information from 15–16-year-old children in the Swedish and Danish subsamples of ESPAD. Youth drinking was measured by prevalence and frequency of drinking over the past year. Parenting was measured in terms of the extent the child reported that: (1) parents’ attitudes towards offspring drinking are restrictive, (2) parents set up general rules for what their children are allowed to do, and (3) parents have high level of knowledge about where and with whom their children spend time. The association between these indicators of parenting and youth drinking was first estimated with logistic regressions. Second, changes in parenting between 1999 and 2015 were compared between Denmark and Sweden across the study period. Results: Restrictive parental attitudes were associated with a lower likelihood of past-year drinking and frequent drinking in both Sweden and Denmark. This attitude was more common in Sweden, where it also became more prevalent between 2003 and 2015 in contrast to in Denmark. The association between strict parental rule-setting and youth drinking was weak in both countries. A high parental knowledge of the child's whereabouts was linked to a lower likelihood of past-year drinking in Sweden and a lower frequency of drinking in both countries. Parental knowledge of offspring's whereabouts did not develop differently in Sweden and Denmark, with a high and stable proportion in both countries. Conclusion: More restrictive parental attitudes towards youth drinking may have contributed to the decline in youth drinking, whereas the importance of general parental rule-setting and parental knowledge of offspring's whereabouts was not supported.