Statistical Analysis Of FatherYouth Study Essay Research

Statistical Analysis Of Father-Youth Study Essay, Research Paper


The purpose of this study is to ascertain the affects of drug-abusing fathers on the drug usage of their young adolescent children. A special targeted population were chosen for this study; they are the children of drug-abusing fathers who are HIV-positive or at risk for becoming HIV-positive.

The major factors used to determine the dependent measure of adolescent marijuana use include certain drug abusing father attributes (i.e., illegal drug use, HIV status, and methods of coping), and adolescent personality which is directly affected by the father-adolescent relationship and environmental factors (see pathway to adolescent marijuana use). The focus of this paper will be on the influences of parent-child relationship, father?s marijuana usage and HIV status of the father on the adolescent?s marijuana use. These chosen domains (i.e., set of related variables) are a part of the study needed to determine the pattern of relationship between father drug use and adolescent drug use.

This research is an extension of an earlier study of the psychosocial factors related to the AIDS-risk behaviors and methods of coping among male injection drug users [e.g., 1]. By focusing on the parental approach, it is hope that this information will allow a father to be a more effective parent and assist him in raising his children in a way that they wouldn?t need to turn to drugs to cope with life?s difficulties (i.e., having a drug abusing father that is at risk of becoming HIV positive).



Participants were male volunteers recruited from AIDS clinics and methadone maintenance treatment clinics, with a history of drug abuse (i.e., must have engaged in either injection drug use or another form of illicit drug abuse during the past five years). Only those volunteers who agreed to be interviewed along with one of their 13-20-year-old children were recruited for participation. In order to qualify for participation in the study, the men had to be either living with the child or have seen the child at least four times in the past year (majority of the children live with the mother).

A total of one hundred and one father-child pairs participated in this study; 71 identified themselves as African-American and 27 identified themselves as White (the other three identified themselves as other). All father participants had used intravenous drugs or illicit drugs (other than marijuana or in addition to marijuana) by a non-injection route of administration within the past five years. Participants that were not considered for this study include those who had AIDS dementia, those who were too sick to participate in the study, and those who had a major psychiatric disorder (i.e., bipolar disorder or schizophrenia). Each patient voluntarily reported his own HIV status. Over 98% of the subjects? reports of their HIV status were confirmed by the ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay) and the Western Blot tests. Of the 101 father participants, 38% were HIV positive and 62% were HIV negative. Only children who were already aware of their fathers? HIV status were qualified to participate in the study.


After providing informed consent, each father-child pair was interviewed for approximately four hours using a structured questionnaire. The interviewers were either counselors or social workers at an AIDS clinic or a methadone maintenance treatment clinic and had extensive experience working with substance abusers and/or HIV positive patients. Every attempt was made to match the participants and the interviewers in terms of their ethnic backgrounds. The interviews were conducted privately and the confidentiality of the data was strictly preserved. Each father-child pair participant was given $50 to compensate for his/her time and expenses.


The scales used in this study were based on their item (question) inter-correlation.

These scales were grouped into four domains: Father?s attributes, father-child relationship, adolescent?s personality, and environmental factors.

The father attributes include his HIV status, illegal drug use, and methods of coping with HIV or the risk of having HIV. The measure of the father?s illegal drug use was derived from a combined score of the father?s report of his illegal drug use and the child?s report of the father?s illegal drug use. It is found in previous studies that by combining the parent and children?s responses to measures provides a greater predictability than using one source alone.

The father-child relationship domain include measures of warmth/affection, parenting variables (such as mother?s parenting style and father?s parenting style such as rules and discipline), child?s identification with both parents (admiration, emulation), father-child conflict, and the amount of time the father and child spent together. Except for the child?s identification with the father scale, which is solely from the child?s scores, all the father-child relationship scales were from a combined score of each father?s and his child?s questionnaires.

The adolescent personality domain includes intolerance of deviance, rebelliousness, delinquency, aggression, sexual activity, and other measures of problem behavior. These measures were all taken only from the child?s self-reports.

The last domain, environmental, included measures of school environment, victimization, and gang membership. These measures were also taken only from the reports of the child.


Pearson correlation coefficients were computed between the scales in the two domain chosen (i.e., father attributes and father-child relationships) and the adolescent?s past-year marijuana use. For the purpose of this paper, I have chosen only the variables from the father attributes and father-child relationship domains for the interaction-regression analyses. This will allow us to examine the effect of a variable from one domain in the presence of another domain will have on the child?s marijuana usage. For all the analyses, the dependent variable was the adolescent?s frequency of marijuana use during the year before the interview.


Pearson correlation coefficients were computed to examine the association between the father attributes, the father child relationship factors, and the frequency of the adolescent?s past year marijuana usage. (See table below).

Correlation Coefficients between Scale Measures and Frequency of Past Year Adolescent Marijuana Use

Scale Measures Adolescent Marijuana Use

Father AIDS 0.07

Father Marijuana use 0.25*

Father Admiration-Youth -0.20*

Mother Admiration-Youth -0.36***

Father Affection-Youth -0.28**

Mother Affection-Youth -0.29**

Youth Mother Warmth-Father -0.22*

Youth Father Warmth-Father -0.18+

Father child-centerness-Youth -0.20*

Mother child-centerness-Youth -0.27**

Father Conflict-Youth 0.24*

Mother Conflict-Youth 0.26**

Youth Father Discipline-Father -0.23*

Father Extreme Autonomy-Youth 0.21*

Mother Extreme Autonomy 0.24*

Youth Father Extreme Autonomy-Father 0.17+

(Table continues)

Correlation Coefficients between Scale Measures and Frequency of Past Year Adolescent Marijuana Use

Scale Measures Adolescent Marijuana Use

Father Rules-Youth -0.25*

Mother Rules-Youth -0.29**

Youth Mother Rules-Father -0.44***

Youth Father Rules-Father -0.22*

Father Time Spent-Youth -0.17+

Mother Time Spent-Youth -0.35***

Youth Mother Time Spent-Father -0.24*

Youth Father Time Spent-Father -0.22*

Mother Similarity-Youth -0.33***

Mother Emulation-Youth -0.37***

Father Emulation-Youth -0.20*

+p * 0.1 ; *p * 0.05 ; **p * 0.01 ; ***p * 0.001.

This table consists of only the scales significantly related to the adolescent

marijuana usage with the exception of father AIDS.

From the table above, we see that the greater the father?s marijuana usage the more frequent his child will use marijuana. A close parent-child mutual attachment, the more admiration, affection, warmth, and child-centerness the child feel from the parents, the less frequent the child will use marijuana. The greater the conflict is between the parents is associated with the child?s more frequent use of marijuana. In regards to parenting variables, the greater the mother, father extreme autonomy or more lenient, the more frequent the child will use marijuana. It makes sense then to see that the more discipline the father reinforces, the less likely his child will use marijuana. Likewise, the greater the reinforcement of the mother, father rules, the less frequent the child will use marijuana. Especially the mother rules. It might be because of the fact that majority of the children resides with the mothers. With that said, we see that the more time the mother spent with the child is strongly related with less frequent adolescent marijuana use and the more time the father spent with the child will also help to reduce the frequency of child?s marijuana usage. The same goes to mother similarity and parents emulation with mother having the strongest effect on the reduction of child?s marijuana usage.

Interactions of Father and Youth Risk-Protective Variables:

A series of regression analyses was run in which a variable from one domain was entered first then a variable from another domain, followed by the interaction term (e.g., father AIDS status by one of the parenting variables). I will discuss only the significant interactions, p * 0.05, since the others will not provide any important information. In all cases, the dependent variable was the past year frequency of adolescent marijuana use.

The first set of regression done was by taking father AIDS status and interacts with each of the parenting variables. Although the father?s AIDS status did not emerge as a significant main effect on the child?s marijuana use, it did show significance in the presence of two other variables. The two significant interaction regression analyses are: Father AIDS Status by Father Child-centerness and Father AIDS Status by Time Spent with Mother. In the case that the father does not have AIDS, the effectiveness of father child-centerness (high or low), would not make a big difference in the adolescent marijuana use. If the father has AIDS and is accompanied by low father child-centerness, we have a risk/risk interaction and the adolescent marijuana use is very high. However, if father child-centerness is high, then it buffers some of the risks to the adolescent marijuana use posed by the father having AIDS. The same result is shown in the interaction of father AIDS status by mother time spent with child. When the father has AIDS, and the mother spends little time with the child, then the frequency of child marijuana usage is high, where as it would be buffered by mother spending more time with the child. The combined presence of these variables as risk/risk interactions was more strongly associated with frequent marijuana use than each of these variables considered alone.

The next set of regression was done by interacting the gender of the child with each of the parenting variables to predict the adolescent marijuana usage. The significant ones are: Sex by Mother Identification, Sex by Father Extreme Autonomy, Sex by Mother Extreme Autonomy, and Sex by Mother Time Spent. In all cases, male child marijuana usage in greater than female. For both male and female, if the child identified weakly with the mother, marijuana use for the child increase (male using more than female). The more lenient the father is, the more marijuana use for the male child is affected. Females not affected by as greatly as male. The same goes for lenient mothers. Both male and female are affected by the time spent with mother. The less time mother spent with the children, the more highly used the marijuana with males being affected more than females.

Another set of interaction regression was also conducted to see the effect of the parenting variables on the adolescent marijuana use differ in the two race studied (black and white). The significant interactions include ethnicity by father rules and ethnicity by father?s time spent with child. If father rules are strong, then the adolescent marijuana use in both races will be low. If the father rules are weak, then the adolescent marijuana use is more at risk for white children than for black children. It is highest for the three children that identified themselves as ?other? for ethnicity. The same result applied to father time spent with child. When the father?s time spent with his child is high, the adolescent marijuana use for both races is low. While father?s time spent with the child is low is more risky for white children to use more marijuana than for black children.

Finally, father marijuana use is interacted with each of the parenting variables. Only mother identification was significant in the interaction regression with father marijuana use variable. The plot show if the child is strongly identified with the mother, his/her marijuana use will be low regardless if the father uses marijuana or not. When the child shows weak identification with the mother, child marijuana use will increase; more strongly effected in the presence of father?s marijuana use. Therefore mother identification helped buffered the negative effects of the father?s marijuana use risk factor on the child?s marijuana use.


The overall information suggest that a strong parent-child relationship helped offset the negative effects of certain risk factors such as father having AIDS and father using marijuana. Specifically, a more affectionate parent-child relationship, characterized by warmth, good discipline, adolescent?s identification with the parents (mother in particular), and a non-conflict relationship were related to less frequent marijuana use by the child. We can then say that fathers who spends a good deal of time with the children were less likely to have kids that use drugs.

The risk/protective interactive analyses show that white male children are more at risk of marijuana use than white females or black children provided that no parenting variable buffers the negative effect. This study stresses the importance of parenting style and parental drug abuse affecting the child?s marijuana usage. Programs should be established to assist the fathers as well as the mothers in their parenting roles to reduce the and possibly prevent marijuana usage for these children.

This is a cross-sectional study where both the father and his child are interviewed at the same time. A longitudinal study is being conducted at this time to see how the adolescent marijuana use would be different over time. We wouldn?t have access to this information until it is complete. A larger sample will also be provided.


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