OBJECTIVE Smoking cannabis before adulthood is associated with subsequent adverse psychiatric outcomes and might be prevented via parenting interventions such as programs to increase parents' effective monitoring of their children. The aim of this study was to estimate the influence of parental monitoring assessed at age 11 on the initiation of cannabis use before age 18. METHOD Data are from a longitudinal study of 823 children randomly selected from 1983 to 1985 newborn discharge lists from two major hospitals in southeast Michigan. Parental monitoring was assessed at age 11 via a standardized 10-item scale, and the parental monitoring-cannabis initiation relationship was estimated for the 638 children with complete data. Poisson regression with robust error variances was used to estimate the association that links levels of parental monitoring at age 11 with the risk of cannabis use up to age 17, adjusting for other important covariates. RESULTS Higher levels of parental monitoring at age 11 were associated with a reduced risk of cannabis initiation from ages 11 to 17 (adjusted estimated relative risk = 0.96; 95% CI [0.93, 0.98]). CONCLUSIONS This prospective investigation found that higher levels of parental monitoring were associated with a reduced occurrence of cannabis initiation from ages 11 to 17 years. Consistent with evidence reported elsewhere, these findings from prospective research lend further support to theories about parenting and familial characteristics that might exert long-lasting influences on a child's risk of starting to use drugs.
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