Published in

Frontiers Media, Frontiers in Psychiatry, (14), 2023

DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2023.1149079



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Evaluating longitudinal relationships between parental monitoring and substance use in a multi-year, intensive longitudinal study of 670 adolescent twins

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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IntroductionParental monitoring is a key intervention target for adolescent substance use, however this practice is largely supported by causally uninformative cross-sectional or sparse-longitudinal observational research designs.MethodsWe therefore evaluated relationships between adolescent substance use (assessed weekly) and parental monitoring (assessed every two months) in 670 adolescent twins for two years. This allowed us to assess how individual-level parental monitoring and substance use trajectories were related and, via the twin design, to quantify genetic and environmental contributions to these relationships. Furthermore, we attempted to devise additional measures of parental monitoring by collecting quasi-continuous GPS locations and calculating a) time spent at home between midnight and 5am and b) time spent at school between 8am-3pm.ResultsACE-decomposed latent growth models found alcohol and cannabis use increased with age while parental monitoring, time at home, and time at school decreased. Baseline alcohol and cannabis use were correlated (r = .65) and associated with baseline parental monitoring (r = −.24 to −.29) but not with baseline GPS measures (r = −.06 to −.16). Longitudinally, changes in substance use and parental monitoring were not significantly correlated. Geospatial measures were largely unrelated to parental monitoring, though changes in cannabis use and time at home were highly correlated (r = −.53 to −.90), with genetic correlations suggesting their relationship was substantially genetically mediated. Due to power constraints, ACE estimates and biometric correlations were imprecisely estimated. Most of the substance use and parental monitoring phenotypes were substantially heritable, but genetic correlations between them were not significantly different from 0.DiscussionOverall, we found developmental changes in each phenotype, baseline correlations between substance use and parental monitoring, co-occurring changes and mutual genetic influences for time at home and cannabis use, and substantial genetic influences on many substance use and parental monitoring phenotypes. However, our geospatial variables were mostly unrelated to parental monitoring, suggesting they poorly measured this construct. Furthermore, though we did not detect evidence of genetic confounding, changes in parental monitoring and substance use were not significantly correlated, suggesting that, at least in community samples of mid-to-late adolescents, the two may not be causally related.