Alcohol outlet density, parental monitoring, and adolescent deviance: A multilevel analysis
Lower levels of parental monitoring are associated with youth problem behaviors, including substance use and delinquency. Recent studies employing routine activities theory have hypothesized that greater densities of alcohol outlets, particularly bars, may provide parents more opportunities to socialize outside the home. This, in turn, may decrease a parent's ability to effectively monitor the activities of his or her child, resulting in more deviant behaviors by the adolescent. Using hierarchical linear modeling (HLM), the current study assesses whether or not greater densities of alcohol outlets in zip code areas (n = 50) interact with levels of parental monitoring to affect levels of deviance among adolescents aged 14 to 16 (n = 1541). The study finds that adolescents who have higher grade point averages and have not used alcohol report the lowest levels of deviant behaviors. Furthermore, the density of bars interacts with reports of parental monitoring such that adolescents in areas with more bars per roadway mile report lower levels of parental monitoring behaviors, which is associated with higher levels of deviance. These findings suggest that in those areas with greater densities of bars parents may be spending more time away from home, making monitoring of their adolescents more difficult, or parents may be drinking more frequently, thus impairing their ability to adequately monitor their children. Policies and practices that limit the number of bars in neighborhood areas with large populations of adolescents may reduce deviant behaviors.
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