New Insights Between Marijuana Use and Parental Involvement

Parental involvement in the lives of their teens is strongly associated with reduced marijuana use in their children, according to a new study by Claremont Graduate University Professor of Psychology William Crano, PhD.

claremont, CA, November 26, 2009 --( The paper, titled, “Monitoring Matters: Meta-Analytic Review reveals the Reliable Linkage of Parental Monitoring With Adolescent Marijuana Use,” was published in the November issue of the Association for Psychological Science’s journal, “Perspectives on Psychological Science.”

In the study, Crano and graduate student Andrew Lac reviewed numerous studies to examine the connection between parental monitoring and adolescent marijuana use. For this review, Lac and Crano selected all studies from the literature that contained usable information on this association, which involved data on over 35,000 participants. As it turns out, there is a strong association between parental monitoring and teenage marijuana use. “I’ve never seen a pattern of results in a meta-analysis study that was more one-sided,” Crano said.

Crano stresses that the parental involvement could involve either parental supervision or disclosure by the teen about his or her activities. In any case, if the teen feels as if the parent knows what they are up to, they are less likely to experiment with marijuana. High parental monitoring was associated with a 21% decrease in marijuana use in their teens.

The research could lend to insights into more successful anti-drug media campaigns. These insights also are in line with previous studies that Crano has done, which indicate that advertisements geared toward parents have a strong impact on both parents and their teens.

“If the kids think the ads make their parents more aware of what they might be doing, they are less likely to use drugs,” Crano said.

Crano said according to research, the anti-drug, government funded commercial campaigns from the 1980s and 1990s which told kids, “This is your brain on drugs,” turned out to have the opposite effect on teens. More successful (and recent) campaigns with the theme: “Parents: The Anti-Drug,” have been shown to be more effective. Crano commented that commercials aimed at teens who are thinking about trying drugs often don’t work, but with proper attention to established research theories and findings, ads that powerfully affect teen marijuana usage could be designed.

“This research suggests that establishing a meaningful relationship and two-way communication between parents and teens really matters,” Crano said.

According to Health News Digest, marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug by adolescents, with almost 42% of high school seniors admitting to having experimented with it. Continued marijuana use may result in a number of serious consequences including depression, cognitive impairment, cardiovascular disease, and certain forms of cancer.

Crano is a professor at CGU's School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences. His basic research is concerned with social influence, especially the impact of minorities on the beliefs and actions of the majority, and on the effects of self-interest on attitudes and actions. His applied research is concerned with the development of persuasive and instructional information to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, and to prevent drug abuse in children and adolescents. He is a fellow of the APA and APS, has been a NATO Senior Scientist, a Fulbright Fellow to Brazil, and a liaison scientist in the behavioral sciences for the Office of Naval Research, London.

About Claremont Graduate University

Founded in 1925, Claremont Graduate University is one of the top graduate schools in the United States. Our nine academic schools conduct leading-edge research and award masters and doctoral degrees in 22 disciplines. Because the world’s problems are not simple nor easily defined, diverse faculty and students research and study across the traditional discipline boundaries to create new and practical solutions for the major problems plaguing our world. A Southern California based graduate school devoted entirely to graduate research and study, CGU boasts a low student-to-faculty ratio.

About the School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences
Based at Claremont Graduate University in Southern California, it is one of the best psychology programs in California. The program offers masters and PhDs in evaluation, applied psychology and evaluation science for a range of careers.

Claremont Graduate University
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