Parental Restriction of Mature-rated Media and Its Association With Substance Use Among Argentinean Adolescents

Published:November 22, 2015DOI:



      To assess the independent relation between parental restrictions on mature-rated media (M-RM) and substance use among South American adolescents.


      Cross-sectional school-based youth survey of 3,172 students (mean age, 12.8 years; 57.6% boys) in 3 large Argentinean cities. The anonymous survey queried tobacco, alcohol, and drug use using items adapted from global youth surveys. Adolescents reported M-RM restriction for internet and video game use, television programming, and movies rated for adults. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to assess the association between parental M-RM restriction and substance use after adjustment for hourly media use, measures of authoritative parenting style, sociodemographic characteristics, and sensation-seeking.


      Substance use rates were 10% for current smoking, 32% for current drinking alcohol, 17% for past 30-day binge drinking, and 8% for illicit drug use (marijuana or cocaine). Half of the respondents reported parental M-RM restriction (internet 52%, TV 43%, adult movies 34%, video game 25%). Parental M-RM restriction was only modestly correlated with authoritative parenting measures. In multivariate analyses M-RM restriction on all 4 venues was strongly protective for all substance use outcomes. Compared with no restriction, odds ratios for substance use for full restrictions were 0.32 (0.18–0.59), 0.53 (0.38–0.07), 0.36 (0.22–0.59), and 0.49 (0.26–0.92) for current smoking, drinking, binge drinking, and illicit drug use, respectively. The most important single M-RM venue was movies.


      Results of this study confirmed the protective association between parental M-RM restriction during adolescence and multiple substance use outcomes, including illicit drugs. M-RM restriction is independent of traditional parenting measures. The preponderance of the evidence supports intervention development.


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