Reducing the Use of Marijuana in Adolescents Through Parental Monitoring


Out of all the drugs which adolescents use, marijuana is considered to be the one which is the most widely used. 42% of seniors in high school are found to have admitted experimenting using the drug. Continued use of this drug is shown to result in a number of consequences which are quite serious such as depression, cardiovascular diseases, and impaired cognitive activities along with some types of cancer. Thus, it is important that adolescents do not make use of marijuana and because of it; a number of medical as well as behavioral scientists have been working on.

Parents are seen to be the best way of preventing marijuana use and a number of studies have been conducted which have focused on this factor. Parental monitoring in particular where parents are well aware of where their child is going, who he/she is with and what they’re doing is of critical importance and has been found to have attenuated a number of negative behaviors such as gambling, use of drugs as well as sexual activity. While parental monitoring has been effective in such instances, its link with marijuana is still not very clear. If an adolescent uses this drug, chances are he does so without telling his parents in comparison to other behaviors which he may be open about. Despite there being an uncertainty as to whether or not parental monitoring is effective in preventing the use of drugs and marijuana by adolescents, large sums of money are being spent on programs and campaigns in the media to help parents in preventing this particular behavior of their children.

Psychologists from Claremont Graduate University by the name of Andrew Lac and William Crano engaged in the review of a number of studies to examine whether or not a connection exists between the use of marijuana in adolescents as well as parental monitoring. 17 studies were selected from the existing literature by these psychologists and these contained around 35,000 participants. The criteria on the basis of which these studies were selected include the participation of the adolescents, that main focus was given to the use of the drug and that monitoring by parents was something which the adolescent himself evaluated through self-report measures rather than the parent himself reporting his own behavior.

Results of their study were reported in the present issue of Perspectives on Psychological Sciences which is a journal of Association for Psychological Science and revealed that a strong and a very reliable link did exist between parental monitoring as well as a decrease in the use of marijuana amongst adolescents. Strong effects were also found mostly in studies which were female only.

The authors did state that their review suggests that parents are in no way irrelevant even when such secretive and illegal behaviors of children are concerned. According to them, the results of their review could help in programs aimed at preventing the use of marijuana and can target parents and offer insight into removing this risky behavior of children.


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