Aims: The main aim of this study was to assess the relationship between parental attitudes towards children's alcohol use and their child's alcohol use. Secondary aims included assessing the relationship between attitudes reported by parents and those perceived by children, and between perceived parental attitudes and children's alcohol use. Methods: Meta-analysis of studies reporting on the associations between parental attitudes towards children's alcohol use and children's self-reported alcohol use. Published, peer-reviewed cross-sectional and longitudinal studies were identified from the following databases up to April 2018: Medline, PsycINFO, EMBASE, Scopus and Web of Science. Quality assessment was performed by using guidelines developed by Hayden, Cote & Bombardier. Pooled effect sizes were calculated by using random-effects meta-analyses, if there were at least two studies that could be included per analysis. Of 7471 articles screened, 29 were included comprising data from 16 477 children and 15 229 parents. Results: Less restrictive parental attitudes towards children's alcohol use were related to higher rates of alcohol use initiation [odds ratio (OR) = 1.45, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.17–1.80], alcohol use frequency (OR = 1.52, 95% CI = 1.24–1.86) and drunkenness (OR = 1.58, 95% CI = 1.35–1.85) among children. Less perceived restrictive parental attitudes were related to higher alcohol use frequency (OR = 1.76, 95% CI = 1.29–2.40). Perceived parental attitudes were not clearly related to alcohol use initiation. Parent-reported attitudes and perceived parental attitudes were weakly positively correlated (r = 0.27, P = ≤ 0.001). The strength of the relationship between parental attitudes and children's alcohol use frequency attenuated with children's age. Study design, sample size, study location and levels of alcohol use frequency did not have a detectable effect on the relationship. Conclusions: Less restrictive parental attitudes towards children's alcohol use are associated with increases in children's alcohol use onset, alcohol use frequency and drunkenness. Children's perception of less restrictive parental attitudes is associated with children's alcohol use.
- alcohol use
- systematic review