Date of Conferral





Public Health


Michael Dunn


AbstractAdolescents in the United States commence substance use as early as 12 to 14 years old and as late as 15 to 17 years old. Several factors influence adolescent substance use/abuse status, including environment, boredom, friends, teachers, and parental influence. The influence of parental communication with adolescents about the danger of substance use/abuse (SUA) required further study. The purpose of this quantitative cross-sectional study was to understand the influence of parental knowledge and communication with adolescents as potential predictors of substance use/abuse status. The social cognitive theory and social determinants of adolescent risky behavior provided the theoretical framework of this study. Data from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2018 were analyzed. The target population was adolescents 12 to 17 years old in the United States. Binary logistic regression was used to analyze the data. The results of the study revealed statistically significant associations between parental communication with adolescents about the danger of SUA, adolescent age, and substance use status (p = 0.049, Odds 1.025, 95% CI = 1.00, 1.05) and (p = 0.002, Odds – 1.93, and 95% CI = 1.26, 2.95), respectively, revealing that parental communication with adolescents about the danger of SUA and adolescent age were predictors of substance use status. The study findings may be used by the government, community, and other stakeholders to design intervention programs that potentially reduce SUA and improve adolescents’ health, productivity, and life expectancy.