University of Oulu

W. Alex Mason, Mary B. Chmelka, Irina Patwardhan, Stacy-Ann A. January, Charles B. Fleming, Jukka Savolainen, Jouko Miettunen & Marjo-Riitta Järvelin (2019) Associations of Cumulative Family Risk With Academic Performance and Substance Involvement: Tests of Moderation by Child Reading Engagement, Substance Use & Misuse, 54:10, 1679-1690, DOI: 10.1080/10826084.2019.1608248

Associations of cumulative family risk with academic performance and substance involvement : tests of moderation by child reading engagement

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Author: Mason, W. Alex1; Chmelka, Mary B.1; Patwardhan, Irina1;
Organizations: 1Child and Family Translational Research Center, Boys Town, Boys Town, NE, USA
2Department of Psychology, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA
3Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, USA
4Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
5Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
6Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
7Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, MRC PHE Centre for Environment and Health, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, UK
8Center for Life Course Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, P.O. Box 5000, FI-90014 University of Oulu, Finland
9Biocenter Oulu, University of Oulu, Finland. Unit of Primary Care, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Informa, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-12-15


Background: Exposure to cumulative contextual risk within the family early in life increases children’s risk for substance involvement and related difficulties, including school failure, in adolescence and young adulthood. However, potential protective factors that buffer these risk associations are relatively untested, yet such tests are needed to improve existing preventive interventions for enhancing resilience among vulnerable children.

Objectives: This study tested child reading engagement with parents at home as a moderator of cumulative family risk associations with adolescent substance use and academic performance as well as young adult substance abuse.

Methods: Population register data as well as parent-report and adolescent-report data from 6,963 participants of the 1986 Northern Finland Birth Cohort study were analyzed via structural equation modeling with latent variable interactions.

Results: Results showed that child reading engagement moderated the associations of cumulative family risk with both adolescent academic performance and young adult substance abuse, but not with adolescent substance use. The highest levels of academic performance were observed under conditions of low risk and high reading engagement. Interestingly, cumulative family risk had a small positive association with substance abuse when reading engagement was low and a negative association with the young adult outcome when reading engagement was high.

Conclusions/Importance: Moderation tests revealed complex interaction forms that may have implications for both theory and family-based preventive interventions.

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Series: Substance use & misuse
ISSN: 1082-6084
ISSN-E: 1532-2491
ISSN-L: 1082-6084
Volume: 54
Issue: 10
Pages: 1679 - 1690
DOI: 10.1080/10826084.2019.1608248
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3124 Neurology and psychiatry
Funding: The analyses were supported by National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, Grant # R01 DA038450. Support for the Northern Finland Birth Cohort was provided by the European Commission (Grant DynaHEALTH—H2020—633595), EU QLG1-CT-2000-01643 (EUROBLCS) Grant no. E51560, NorFA Grant no. 731, 20056, 30167, and USA/NIHH 2000 G DF682 Grant no. 50945.
EU Grant Number: (633595) DYNAHEALTH - Understanding the dynamic determinants of glucose homeostasis and social capability to promote Healthy and active aging
Copyright information: © 2019 Taylor & Francis. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Substance Use & Misuse on 30 Apr 2019, available online: