The Impact of Nonresident Father Involvement on Adolescent to Adult Substance Use: A Life Course Perspective

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The structure of the “traditional” American family has changed dramatically in recent decades. This change is concerning because existing knowledge suggests that increased involvement with the biological father serves as a protective factor against problem behavior. This study analyzed the impact of nonresident father involvement (NRFI) on substance use throughout the life course. Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health were analyzed to identify whether NRFI at baseline (1994-1996) was associated with substance use in adolescence (1996), young adulthood (2002-2001), and adulthood (2008). The results indicate that NRFI was not associated with marijuana or heavy alcohol use at any time point. However, the results did show that sex modified the relationship between NRFI and heavy alcohol use in adulthood. These results suggest the need for additional research to explore the impact of NRFI on marijuana and heavy alcohol use and determine how sex impacts this relationship.