Parents Underestimate Teens’ Concerns About Drugs
While drugs are the number one concern for teenagers, parents underestimate how important
this issue is to teens, according to data from a national telephone survey conducted
earlier this year.*More than one-fourth of youths ages 12 to 17 reported that alcohol,
tobacco, and other drugs were the most important problem facing people their age.
Yet only 12% of parents of teenagers reported that drugs were the most important problem
facing teenagers. In contrast, parents overestimated teens’ concerns with social pressuresᾰ58%
of parents said that social pressures were the number one concern of teens, compared
to only 21% of teenagers. Previous research has found that parents also underestimate
the level of alcohol and illicit drug use by youth (see CESAR FAX, Volume 15, Issue 31).
While More than One-Fourth of Teens Say Drugs Are Their Number One Concern
Only 12% of Parents Perceive Drugs to Be the Number One Concern of Teens
*Teens were asked “What is the most important problem facing people your ageᾰthat
is, the thing which concerns you the most?” Parents were asked “And from the point
of view of teenagers like your own, what do you think is the most important problem
someone their age faces?” Both questions were open-ended. Additional responses not
included in the above figures include mental wellbeing, moral values, and economics
(for teenagers) and gaining independence, acceptance of self, and making good decisions
Notes: Nationally representative, random household surveys were conducted by telephone
with 1,297 teenagers (ages 12 to 17) and 562 parents of teenagers between March 9
and April 30, 2006. All of the parents interviewed reside in households in which a
parent gave consent for their teen to be interviewed (even though the teen interview
may not have been completed).
Source: Adapted by CESAR from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse
at Columbia University (CASA), National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance
Abuse XI: Teens and Parents, August 2006. Available online at http://www.casacolumbia.org/supportcasa/item.asp?cID=12&PID=148.
Source: CESAR. http://www.cesar.umd.edu/
Alcohol, Other Drugs and Your College Student