The purpose of this renewal application is to extend our long-term investigation of intergenerational continuity and discontinuity in drug use in a three-generation prospective design, using data from the Rochester Youth Development Study and the Rochester Intergenerational Study. We examine three general issues: first, we describe intergenerational continuity and discontinuity across the generations for drug use and related problem behaviors, including delinquency, depression, and health-risking sex behaviors for HIV/AIDS;second, we identify mediating and moderating processes to explain both intergenerational continuity and discontinuity in drug use and co-morbid behaviors;third, we examine these intergenerational issues for fathers as well as for mothers. The focal participant is the oldest biological child (G3) of the original participant in the Rochester study. The project proposed here capitalizes on the rich developmental data collected since 1988 on both the parents (G2) and grandparents (G1) of these focal subjects;combining those data with the prospective data collected in this study provides a rare opportunity to examine how the parent's own developmental course influences their transition to adulthood and their behavior as parents which, in turn, can be used to explain the onset and development of the child's drug use and related problem behaviors. In Year 1 (1999) we selected G3 children 2 years of age and older (n=371), and we continue to add new 2-year-olds each year. By Year 12, when current funding ends, we will have a total sample of approximately 520 families and will be 96% of the way towards our sampling goal of all oldest biological G3 children. Annually, we interview the G2 parent, the child's other primary caregiver, and the G3 child (age 8 and older). At earlier ages we videotaped dyadic interactions between the child and each of these caregivers. Data are also collected from teachers, schools, and other agencies. Measures include the parent's structural position and stressors, drug use and problem behaviors, prosocial bonds, peer networks, family context, and parenting behaviors. For G3 we assess their general psychosocial development, including detailed information on the onset and course of their drug use and related problem behaviors. The analysis investigates how G2 drug use and antisocial behavior are related to G3 drug use and antisocial behavior both at the same and at different developmental stages. It then uses the detailed data on G2's life-course development, as well as their current behavior and parenting practices, to identify mediating pathways for intergenerational continuity and sources of resilience for intergenerational discontinuity. The 5-year period proposed here is particularly crucial to the project's aims as it is during these years that the vast majority of the G3 participants will move into and through adolescence when drug use is initiated and maintained and when they overlap in age with their parents when they were assessed in the Rochester study.

Public Health Relevance

Drug use and related problem behaviors exact a high toll on the individual, his or her family, and society at large. The present study examines this public health concern in a three-generation longitudinal study to enhance our understanding of the origins of these behaviors. The results will identify new, and earlier, targets for prevention and treatment programs.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Psychosocial Development, Risk and Prevention Study Section (PDRP)
Program Officer
Etz, Kathleen
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University of Maryland College Park
Social Sciences
Schools of Arts and Sciences
College Park
United States
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