Parents have both direct and indirect influences on many adolescent problem behaviors including underage drinking. To reach a large number of parents, and to encourage parents to adopt behaviors associated with fewer adolescent problems, parent education programs need to be developed and evaluated. The Amazing Alternatives! Home Program, a component of a community-wide intervention called Project Northland, attempted to reach and affect parents of seventh graders through booklets sent via direct mail. The booklets had two parts: the first contained information to be read by parents, and the second was a discussion activity to be completed by parents and their seventh graders. The main goals of the Amazing Alternatives! Home Program were to increase communication between parents and seventh graders concerning alcohol-related issues, to improve parenting skills like monitoring and supervision, and, eligible families chose to participate in the program. Participation in the Amazing Alternatives! Home Program was associated with increased communication between seventh graders and their parents concerning alcohol-related topics. Changes in other parenting behaviors and student self-reported alcohol use were not observed following program participation. Parent programs such as the Amazing Alternatives! Home Program may be a necessary, but not sufficient, intervention to achieve reductions in underage drinking.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (R01-AA09596).