Several studies have shown that disturbances in the parent-child relationship in childhood are related to patterns of alcohol abuse in adolescence and young adulthood. Recently some researchers, however, argue that whether poor parenting is detrimental depends on specific child characteristics. Hence, instead of examining overall effects of parenting, it might be more appropriate to search for specific child-environment effects that lead to problematic drinking patterns. In this paper, we investigate the interplay between child characteristics (lack of self-control and aggression) and parenting on problematic alcohol use in young adulthood. Data were used from a longitudinal study that followed 301 children and their parents for a period of 10 years. Both parents and their children were interviewed on parenting practices and child characteristics when the child was a young adolescent (mean age of 12 years at time 1) and extensive information on problematic alcohol use was gathered when the participants were young adults (mean age was 22 at time 3). Findings showed strong effects of childhood aggression (men only) and poor family functioning on enhanced levels of problem drinking in young adulthood. Further, the combination of high levels of aggression and low levels of family functioning were related to problem drinking in men, whereas the combination of low parental control and low levels of affection expression were related to problem drinking in women.

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