Prospective prediction of arrests for driving under the influence from relationship patterns with family and friends in adolescence

William E. Pelham, Thomas J. Dishion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Driving under the influence (DUI) is dangerous and costly, yet there are few prospective studies on modifiable risk and protective processes that would inform prevention. Middle adolescence, when most individuals are first learning to drive and first using alcohol, may be a particularly salient period for family and friendship influences on DUI risk. In the present study, youth's family and friendship environments were observed and measured at age 16 in a diverse community sample (n = 999), and then court records were used to document arrest for DUI through the age of 32 years. We first examined the univariate effects of family and friendship variables on later DUI and then fit more comprehensive structural equation models to test predictive effects on the level of construct (e.g., parental monitoring) and environment (e.g., family). Results indicate that parental monitoring (Odds Ratio [OR] = 0.77), positive family relations (OR = 0.84), prosocial peer affiliation (OR = 0.77), and deviant peer affiliation (OR = 1.43) at age 16 were individually predictive of arrests for DUI from ages 16 to 32, even after controlling for both teen and parent alcohol use. The comprehensive, multivariate models indicated that the friendship environment was most predictive of arrests for DUI during the follow-up period. Together, these results are consistent with a model in which attenuated family ties contribute to substance-use-based friendships at age 16, which in turn contribute to an increased likelihood of arrest for DUI in later adolescence and early adulthood. Implications for prevention are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-42
Number of pages7
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Alcohol
  • Driving
  • Family
  • Friends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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