Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 437–447 | Cite as

The Influence of Families on Early Adolescent School Connectedness: Evidence That This Association Varies with Adolescent Involvement in Peer Drinking Networks

  • Adrian B. Kelly
  • Martin O’Flaherty
  • John W. Toumbourou
  • Ross Homel
  • George C. Patton
  • Angela White
  • Joanne Williams


School connectedness is central to the long term well-being of adolescents, and high quality parent–child relationships facilitate school connectedness. This study examined the extent to which family relationship quality is associated with the school connectedness of pre- and early teenagers, and how this association varies with adolescent involvement in peer drinking networks. The sample consisted of 7,372 10–14 year olds recruited from 231 schools in 30 Australian communities. Participants completed the Communities that Care youth survey. A multi-level model of school connectedness was used, with a random term for school-level variation. Key independent variables included family relationship quality, peer drinking networks, and school grade. Control variables included child gender, sensation seeking, depression, child alcohol use, parent education, and language spoken at home. For grade 6 students, the association of family relationship quality and school connectedness was lower when peer drinking networks were present, and this effect was nonsignificant for older (grade 8) students. Post hoc analyses indicated that the effect for family relationship quality on school connectedness was nonsignificant when adolescents in grade 6 reported that the majority of friends consumed alcohol. The results point to the importance of family-school partnerships in early intervention and prevention.


Adolescents Early adolescents School connectedness Alcohol Parents Family relationship quality Peers 



This research was funded by an NHMRC Project Grant to J. Williams, J. Toumbourou, R. Homel, and G. Patton. The study was supported by a VicHealth Research Fellowship awarded to J. Toumbourou. Data analysis and preparation of this manuscript was supported by NHMRC Project 569539 and ARC DP1095883 to A. B. Kelly (first investigator). The authors thank Gary Chan for research assistance in the preparation of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adrian B. Kelly
    • 1
  • Martin O’Flaherty
    • 1
  • John W. Toumbourou
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Ross Homel
    • 2
  • George C. Patton
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • Angela White
    • 1
  • Joanne Williams
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Centre for Youth Substance Abuse ResearchThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and GovernanceGriffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.Deakin UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Centre for Adolescent HealthMelbourneAustralia
  5. 5.Murdoch Children’s Research InstituteMelbourneAustralia
  6. 6.The University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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