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Authoritative Parenting and Drug-Prevention Practices: Implications for Anti-Drug Ads for Parents
Unformatted Document Text:  Drug Prevention Practices 21 1996; Newcomb & Felix-Ortiz, 1992). Implications for Drug Prevention Messages We find this information particularly useful in a research program designed to develop more effective anti-drug ads for parents (Authors, in press). In particular, we view parenting style as a potentially valuable targeting variable for anti-drug campaigns. A number of family- based programs already exist to teach parents risk-reduction skills, including communication and monitoring (e.g., Irvine, Biglan, Smokowlsky, Metzler, & Ary, 1999; Spoth, Reyes, Redmond, & Shin, 1999). But ongoing mass communication campaigns for parents, while research-based (e.g., Office of National Drug Control Policy, 1997), do not segment the audience and utilize targeted communication messages (e.g., Slater, 1995). This research study demonstrates that important drug-prevention behaviors (parental monitoring, awareness) differ by authoritative parenting style. Authoritative parenting may offer some utility as a targeting variable for subsequent mass communication efforts. For example, campaigners might consider how anti-drug ads can most effectively target low authoritative parents. As we discovered in H1, low authoritative parents are less likely to discuss family rules, discuss strategies to help their children avoid drugs, and closely monitor their child’s daily activities. Campaigners can pursue formative research (Atkin & Freimuth, 2001) with low authoritative parents to determine why these drug-prevention behaviors are less frequent, what might effectively motivate this targeted audience to engage in these behaviors, and how media messages would facilitate such actions. Formative research would also reveal what types of media are used by low authoritative parents and if specific structural or content message features are more appealing than others (e.g., Witte et al., 1993). Such research might also

Authors: Stephenson, Michael., Atkinson, Joshua., Tschida, David. and Quick, Brian.
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Drug Prevention Practices 21

1996; Newcomb & Felix-Ortiz, 1992).
Implications for Drug Prevention Messages
We find this information particularly useful in a research program designed to develop
more effective anti-drug ads for parents (Authors, in press). In particular, we view parenting
style as a potentially valuable targeting variable for anti-drug campaigns. A number of family-
based programs already exist to teach parents risk-reduction skills, including communication and
monitoring (e.g., Irvine, Biglan, Smokowlsky, Metzler, & Ary, 1999; Spoth, Reyes, Redmond, &
Shin, 1999). But ongoing mass communication campaigns for parents, while research-based
(e.g., Office of National Drug Control Policy, 1997), do not segment the audience and utilize
targeted communication messages (e.g., Slater, 1995). This research study demonstrates that
important drug-prevention behaviors (parental monitoring, awareness) differ by authoritative
parenting style. Authoritative parenting may offer some utility as a targeting variable for
subsequent mass communication efforts.
For example, campaigners might consider how anti-drug ads can most effectively target
low authoritative parents. As we discovered in H1, low authoritative parents are less likely to
discuss family rules, discuss strategies to help their children avoid drugs, and closely monitor
their child’s daily activities. Campaigners can pursue formative research (Atkin & Freimuth,
2001) with low authoritative parents to determine why these drug-prevention behaviors are less
frequent, what might effectively motivate this targeted audience to engage in these behaviors, and
how media messages would facilitate such actions. Formative research would also reveal what
types of media are used by low authoritative parents and if specific structural or content message
features are more appealing than others (e.g., Witte et al., 1993). Such research might also


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