A social learning perspective: A model of parenting styles, self-regulation, perceived drinking control, and alcohol use and problems

Julie Patock-Peckham, Jee Won Cheong, Michelle E. Balhorn, Craig T. Nagoshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


Background: This investigation sought to determine how different parenting styles are related to general self-regulatory processes that are linked to alcohol use and abuse. Self-regulation and, more specifically, thoughts of control over drinking are forms of positive self-control mechanisms. Parenting styles are known determinants of both negative and positive self-control mechanisms in offspring. According to social learning theory, stronger relationships between parenting style and self-regulatory processes would be expected from the parent who is the same sex as the respondent. Methods: A total of 144 female and 107 male college students currently using alcohol were administered a questionnaire on their alcohol use and problems, perceived style of parenting (authoritarian, permissive, or authoritative) of their parents, self-regulation, and perceived control of drinking. A model linking parenting styles, self-regulatory processes, and control over drinking with alcohol use and alcohol problems was tested across sex groups by using structural equation modeling. Results: In general, the parenting style of the parent of the same sex as the respondent's was found to be significantly related to self-regulation, which is known to be protective against alcohol use and abuse. A permissive parent of the same sex as the respondent was negatively associated with good self-regulatory processes for both men and women. Having an authoritative mother was also shown to be related to higher levels of self-regulation for women. Conclusions: Self-regulation mediated the pathway from a permissive parenting style to perceived drinking control, which, in turn, mediated the pathway from self-regulation to alcohol use and problems. Finally, self-regulation mediated the positive pathway from an authoritative mother to perceived control over drinking for women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1284-1292
Number of pages9
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2001


  • Alcohol Problems
  • Alcohol Use
  • Parenting Styles
  • Self-Regulation
  • Social Learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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