We propose to study the social transmission of (a) alcohol, tobacco and other drug use (ATOD), and (b) health-risking sexual behavior (HRSB) across three generations (G1, G2, and G3).The developmental pathways of precursors (e.g., ATOD awareness) and of the emergence of these behaviors will be examined from ages 22 months to 17-18 years. A dynamic developmental systems approach will be used to examine prospectively the transmission of contextual risk and problematic behaviors across three generations, and parenting behaviors and peer influences across two generations. Hypotheses will be tested on a community sample consisting of the children of at-risk early adult men (G2) in the Oregon Youth Study (OYS). Up to two biological children of the fathers per mother are included in the Three Generational Study (3GS). The OYS men show high levels of antisocial behavior (at age 25 years, 42% had 2 or more arrests) and substance use (estimated 50% lifetime diagnoses for alcohol dependence or abuse). The men are currently ages 30-32 years, and with their parents (G1) have been involved in the OYS since the G2 men were ages 9-10 years. Both general pathways of risk via early developmental processes and common pathway psychopathology as well as specific influences, including peer social influences and family deviant contexts, will be examined. Child risk factors examined will include temperament. We expect that initiation of substance use will be predicted by factors related to the development of conduct problems and by the specific effects of exposure to substance use by parents in childhood and by peers in later childhood. The design also allows for a genetically-informed examination of cross-generational transmission as pairs of biological siblings are included in the study. Hypotheses regarding cross-generational congruence in the shapes of growth patterns across key developmental periods will be examined. We plan to address the Specific Aims by a combination of secondary data analysis of the OYS, OYS-Couples, and 3GS extant data sets, which will be undertaken from the beginning of the proposed study period, and by collecting and analyzing data that will: (a) Expand the sample size for the early time points (1 through 6, ages 22 months to 11 years), and (b) Extend the study to age 17-18 years.

Public Health Relevance

. Antisocial behavior is the single most powerful predictor of later adjustment problems of any childhood behavior studied and is a powerful predictor of initiation of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, as well as of health risking sexual behavior and STI contraction. Such problems are widely recognized as very expensive in terms of public costs (e.g., for the criminal justice system and forms of welfare) and private costs (e.g., unproductive lives, personal distress, and broken families). There is evidence that such behaviors are associated across generations, but we have only begun to learn under what circumstances such associations occur and why. It seems that associations are partly due to familial risk for antisocial behavior and also to specific risks for substance use and sexual risk behavior. This study will use prospective data across three generations to examine these associations. Better understanding of the intergenerational transmission of parenting, as one key mechanism, is critical because negative parenting has been repeatedly linked with parental psychopathology and child maladjustment.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Psychosocial Development, Risk and Prevention Study Section (PDRP)
Program Officer
Etz, Kathleen
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Oregon Social Learning Center, Inc.
United States
Zip Code
Kerr, David C R; Gini, Gianluca; Owen, Lee D et al. (2018) Peer teasing experiences of fathers and their children: Intergenerational associations and transmission mechanisms. Child Abuse Negl 86:33-44
Kerr, David C R; Gini, Gianluca; Capaldi, Deborah M (2017) Young men's suicidal behavior, depression, crime, and substance use risks linked to childhood teasing. Child Abuse Negl 67:32-43
Capaldi, Deborah M; Kerr, David C R; Owen, Lee D et al. (2017) Intergenerational Associations in Sexual Onset: Mediating Influences of Parental and Peer Sexual Teasing and Youth Substance Use. J Adolesc Health 61:342-347
Roos, Leslie E; Beauchamp, Kathryn G; Pears, Katherine C et al. (2017) Effects of prenatal substance exposure on neurocognitive correlates of inhibitory control success and failure. Appl Neuropsychol Child 6:269-280
Kerr, David C R; Gini, Gianluca (2017) Prospective associations between peer teasing in childhood and young men's obesity. Obes Res Clin Pract 11:640-646
Capaldi, Deborah M; Kerr, David C R; Eddy, J Mark et al. (2016) Understanding Persistence and Desistance in Crime and Risk Behaviors in Adulthood: Implications for Theory and Prevention. Prev Sci 17:785-93
Capaldi, Deborah M; Tiberio, Stacey S; Kerr, David C R et al. (2016) The Relationships of Parental Alcohol Versus Tobacco and Marijuana Use With Early Adolescent Onset of Alcohol Use. J Stud Alcohol Drugs 77:95-103
Tiberio, Stacey S; Capaldi, Deborah M; Kerr, David C R et al. (2016) Parenting and the development of effortful control from early childhood to early adolescence: A transactional developmental model. Dev Psychopathol 28:837-53
Kerr, David C R; Tiberio, Stacey S; Capaldi, Deborah M (2015) Contextual risks linking parents' adolescent marijuana use to offspring onset. Drug Alcohol Depend 154:222-8
Feingold, Alan; Capaldi, Deborah M; Owen, Lee D (2015) Proximal vs. distal predictors of alcohol use disorders and treatment utilization in at-risk men in early middle age. Compr Psychiatry 61:64-71

Showing the most recent 10 out of 52 publications