Prevention Science

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 364–373 | Cite as

Perceived Parent and Peer Marijuana Norms: The Moderating Effect of Parental Monitoring During College

  • Lucy E. Napper
  • Justin F. Hummer
  • Taona P. Chithambo
  • Joseph W. LaBrie


This study examined descriptive and injunctive normative influences exerted by parents and peers on college student marijuana approval and use. It further evaluated the extent to which parental monitoring moderated the relationship between marijuana norms and student marijuana outcomes. A sample of 414 parent-child dyads from a midsize American university completed online surveys. A series of paired and one-sample t tests revealed that students’ actual marijuana use was significantly greater than parents’ perception of their child’s use, while students’ perception of their parents’ approval were fairly accurate. The results of a hierarchical multiple regression indicated that perceived injunctive parent and student norms, and parental monitoring all uniquely contributed to the prediction of student marijuana approval. Furthermore, parental monitoring moderated the effects of perceived norms. For example, at low but not high levels of parental monitoring, perceptions of other students’ marijuana use were associated with students’ own marijuana approval. Results from a zero-inflated negative binomial regression showed that students who reported higher descriptive peer norms, higher injunctive parental norms, and reported lower parental monitoring were likely to report more frequent marijuana use. A significant Parental Monitoring × Injunctive Parental norms interaction effect indicated that parental approval only influenced marijuana use for students who reported that their parents monitored their behavior closely. These findings have intervention implications for future work aimed at reducing marijuana approval and use among American college students.


Marijuana Social norms Parents Peers Parental monitoring 



Support for Dr. Napper was provided by ABMRF/The Foundation for Alcohol Research. Additional support was provided by Grant R21AA020104-02 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.


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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyLoyola Marymount UniversityLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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