Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Nora Charles

Advisor Department



Parents have an important role in their children’s development. There is evidence that parenting behaviors such as parental involvement, monitoring of children, and inconsistent discipline play a role in adolescent substance use. The purpose of this study is to document perceptions of parenting behaviors among youth at a residential boot camp facility for at-risk adolescents, and to relate those perceptions to youths’ self-reported history of substance use. This study adds to previous research on parenting behavior by examining the parenting behaviors reported by troubled youth, rather than the more typically studied normative youth. Additionally, this study tests whether previously reported relationships between parenting behaviors and substance use can be found in this group of high-risk adolescents. Data collection for this study was done via computerized surveys at the facility where the participants reside. A diverse sample of 255 adolescent boys (61.2% Caucasian, 30.2% African American, 0.4% American Indian, 4.3% multiracial, and 1.2% “Other” race/ethnicity) completed surveys asking about their use of drugs and their perceptions of how they were parented when living with their parents or guardians. The results indicate that more positive parenting behaviors (e.g., parental involvement) and fewer negative parenting behaviors (e.g., poor monitoring of youth) is associated with less substance use and related problems among these at-risk adolescents. The results of this study could be used to implement strategies to improve child-parent relationships and reduce adolescent substance use.