Associations of Father’s Cannabis Use Disorder with Child’s Initiation of Alcohol Use, Cannabis Use, and Sexual Intercourse by Child Gender

Document Type


Publication Date



Background: Early initiation of alcohol use, cannabis use, and sexual intercourse among adolescents is an important public health concern in the United States. Parents' history of substance use disorder is an important contributing factor for children's problem behaviors. Objectives: The associations of fathers' lifetime cannabis use disorder with children's initiation of cannabis use, alcohol use, and sexual intercourse were examined. In addition, child's gender was considered as a moderator of each association. Methods: Data from two companion longitudinal studies was utilized, the Rochester Youth Developmental Study and its intergenerational extension, the Rochester Intergenerational Study. Multiple linear regression analyses were conducted to examine the associations of the father's lifetime cannabis use disorder with the child's initiation of cannabis use, alcohol use, and sexual intercourse. To test gender differences in the associations, the study sample was stratified by child's gender. Results: The average age of first cannabis use (b = –3.71, p < .05), alcohol use (b = –3.65, p < .05), and sexual intercourse (b = –2.94, p < .05) among daughters of fathers with a lifetime cannabis use disorder was lower than that of their counterparts after adjusting for all other control variables, whereas no significant differences were detected in a father–son relationship. Conclusions: Homotypic continuity of cannabis use, as well as heterotypic continuity from the father's cannabis use to the child's alcohol use and sexual intercourse existed in a father–daughter relationship. These findings suggest that family-based interventions for female adolescents whose father has suffered from a cannabis use disorder be developed to prevent better adolescents' early substance use and sexual intercourse.

Publication Title

Substance Use & Misuse





First Page


Last Page


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)