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Types of Substance Use and Punitive Parenting: A Preliminary Exploration

, PhDORCID Icon & , PhDORCID Icon
Pages 262-283 | Received 20 Dec 2017, Accepted 08 Mar 2018, Published online: 15 Jul 2019


Very little is known about how the type of substance use is comparatively related to a range of parenting behaviors. We conduct a preliminary examination to ascertain effects of substance type on physical abuse compared with other child discipline tactics with data from a telephone survey in 2009 of 3,023 parents in 50 cities in California. Kruskal-Wallis tests and hierarchical generalized linear models are conducted to determine the relationship between substance type and frequency of nonviolent discipline, corporal punishment, and child physical abuse. Type of drug used is differentially related to use of discipline strategies in multivariate models. Nonviolent discipline and corporal punishment show a dose–response relationship when a parent who reported using more substances also reported using both types of discipline more frequently. We suggest that addiction professionals should consider partnering with a specialist in child development or child welfare to conduct in-depth assessments of parenting strategies among the highest-risk groups, such as those with past-year alcohol use or a history of polysubstance use or methamphetamine use.

Disclosure statement

No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.

Additional information


This work was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism [P60-AA-006282];

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