A longitudinal investigation of the relationship between filial self-efficacy, bullying and substance use

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Adolescence is a time of transition, when bullying and underage drinking are common. These behaviours often occur within a peer context and are heavily influenced by the peer group (Anderson & Brown, 2011; Salmivalli, 2010). However, despite the increasing influence of peers, parents still have an important role in this transitional phase, and in adolescents’ engagement in bullying and underage drinking. Bullying and substance use are often engaged in by adolescents who are poorly monitored by their parents and who experience high conflict and poor communication with their parents (Espelage & Swearer, 2003; Ryan, Jorm, & Lubman, 2010). While this parent-adolescent relationship is often conceptualised as the parent acting upon the adolescent, an agentic perspective on adolescent development focuses on how adolescents learn to manage their relationship with their father and mother. Caprara et al. (2005) found that adolescents’ filial self-efficacy, or their belief in their ability to discuss personal problems with their parents, to manage negative reactions, and to constructively influence parental attitudes impacted other parental-child factors, resulting in more open communication with their parents, less parental conflict, more parental monitoring and more family satisfaction. Filial self-efficacy is yet to be examined in relation to adolescents’ engagement in bullying and underage drinking. This study aims to address this omission. Objective: This study examined the across time relationship between adolescents’ filial self-efficacy, bullying and alcohol use. Methods: A sample 307 Grade 8 Australian students (52% female, Mage = 13.51) completed a survey three times, with eight months between each time point. Structural equation models examined the relationship between filial self-efficacy, adolescent bullying and underage drinking across these time points. Filial self-efficacy, for mothers and fathers, was examined separately in each model. Results: Bullying predicted alcohol use at each subsequent time point. Adolescents’ low belief in their ability to manage their relationship with their mother was predicted by previous bullying, and predicted to future bullying. A similar relationship was not found for fathers. Implications and Conclusion: Having been a perpetrator of bullying places an adolescent at an increased risk of drinking alcohol underage. Therefore, reducing bullying perpetration may be an effective way to reduce underage drinking. While there is already a strong emphasis on parental communication and alcohol use, it may be even more important to target parental communication, and managing parental relationships in the context of bullying, especially with mothers, when attempting to reduce both bullying perpetration and underage drinking.

Poster First Author: 
Catherine Quinn
Conference Presented At: 
IAYMH 2015
Poster Date: 
October, 2015
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