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The present study seeks to understand how parents as prevention agents approach substance use prevention messages during the period of early adolescence. Students (N = 410) in a drug prevention trial completed surveys from 7th to 9th grade. Using longitudinal data, a series of latent transition analyses was conducted to identify major trends of parent–adolescent drug talk styles (i.e., never talked, situated direct, ongoing direct, situated indirect, and ongoing indirect) in control and treatment conditions. Findings demonstrate a developmental trend in drug talk styles toward a situated style of talk as youth transitioned from 7th grade to 9th grade. Findings also show that even though the drug prevention trial did not specifically target parental communication, parents in the treatment condition provide more ongoing substance use prevention messages to their adolescent children than do parents in the control condition. The present study discusses relevant developmental issues, potential intervention effects, and future research directions for communication research in substance use prevention.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Health Communication, volume 34, issue 8, in 2019, available online at DOI: 10.1080/10410236.2018.1437522. It may differ slightly from the final version of record.


Taylor & Francis



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