Women's Self-Perceived Similarity to Their Mother and Associations with Patterns of Alcohol Misuse over 20 Years

Amelia E. Talley, Mackenzie L. Hughes, Sharon C. Wilsnack, Tonda L. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Aims: This study examined transgenerational transmission of risk for female alcohol misuse. Womens perceived similarity to their mother/father in adulthood was examined in terms of its influence on the expected association between perceived maternal alcohol use and female offsprings trajectories of alcohol misuse. We hypothesized that a daughters self-perceived similarity to her mother, in instances where her mother was perceived to be a frequent- or problem-drinker, would be associated with an increase in the daughters count of negative consequences from alcohol use and potential symptoms of alcohol dependence across adulthood. Short summary: Womens perceived similarity to their mother/father was examined as a factor influencing associations between perceived parental alcohol use during childhood and patterns of alcohol misuse in adulthood. Womens self-perceived similarity to their frequent- or problemdrinking mothers increased the risk of negative consequences from drinking over time as well as potential symptoms of alcohol dependence over time. Methods: Analyses utilized data from a survey of women (N = 911) who were followed over a 20- year period, beginning in 1981. Women, ages 21 or older and living in households in the contiguous USA, were eligible, and women who consumed four or more alcoholic drinks per week were oversampled. Model estimates were weighted to adjust for the oversampling of heavier drinking women and to reflect national demographics. Latent growth mixture models estimated regression parameters that captured variation in participants alcohol misuse over time. Results: Women who reported that their mother was a frequent- or problem-drinker and who perceived themselves to be similar to their mother, in general, showed increases in alcohol misuse. The same pattern of results was not shown for fathers. Conclusions: Results support that interventions seeking to reduce female alcohol misuse should address the role of perceived similarity to heavy-drinking female role models or female-drinker prototypes to reduce problem-drinking behavior among female drinkers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)707-715
Number of pages9
JournalAlcohol and Alcoholism
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018


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