ASPPH logo


Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Maryland: Hazelden Betty Ford Report Demonstrates Complexity of Teen Substance Use

The newest edition of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s Emerging Drug Trends report, produced in collaboration with the University of Maryland School of Public Health, shows how different parenting styles, schools and socioeconomic statuses can influence the likelihood that teens engage in substance use.

The most surprising finding: While adolescent substance use is often associated with lower socioeconomic status, kids of all classes are vulnerable for different reasons. Lower socioeconomic status is associated with a higher likelihood of engaging in cigarette smoking, but excessive drinking disproportionately affects upper-middle-class families.

Research highlighted in the report shows that parental monitoring can reduce the chance that teens use substances. Amelia Arria, professor of behavioral and community health at the University of Maryland, and her colleagues established a questionnaire to measure levels of parental monitoring, which includes questions about parental supervision and communication surrounding teens’ social activities.

Using Arria’s tool and other measures, researchers have found that when parents enforce a zero-tolerance policy regarding substance use, spend more time with their teens and communicate openly about alcohol and other substances, their teens are less likely to use substances.

Arria directs the Center on Young Adult Health and Development, co-directs the Maryland Collaborative to Reduce College Drinking and Related Problems and conducts research related to teen and college student risk factors for alcohol and other drug abuse.