BACKGROUND: Parenting practices have been linked with an array of adolescent health-compromising behaviors, but little is known about their possible long-lasting effects. In this study, we estimate the extent to which parental monitoring, parental involvement and reinforcement, and coercive parental discipline during primary school might exert a durable influence on the risk of transitioning into an early stage of youthful cannabis involvement, ie, the first chance to try cannabis. METHODS: Data were from a prospective study of first-graders who entered an urban public school system in the middle 1980s. Parenting was assessed in fourth grade, and cannabis experiences were evaluated during periodic assessments from middle childhood through young adulthood. RESULTS: The estimated risk of the first chance to try cannabis peaked around 16 to 18 years of age. Lower parental involvement and reinforcement and higher coercive parental discipline were associated modestly with a greater risk of cannabis exposure opportunity through the years of adolescence and into early adulthood (parental involvement and reinforcement: adjusted relative risk: 1.4; 95% confidence interval: 1.1-1.7; parental discipline: adjusted relative risk: 1.3; 95% confidence interval: 1.1-1.5); the estimated impact of parental monitoring was less durable. CONCLUSIONS: Early-onset cannabis involvement can be hazardous. Certain parenting practices in the mid-primary school years may have a durable impact, perhaps helping to shield youths from having a chance to try cannabis throughout adolescence and into young adulthood.
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