2022 MADD Parent Teen Perception Report

Key Findings

Teens are less likely to characterize certain behaviors as high risk: binge drinking and mixing alcohol and marijuana (each six percentage points lower among Teens). Teens are spot-on when it comes to how their parents feel about them engaging in impaired driving and binge drinking; anywhere from two-thirds to seven in 10 parents and teens give these behaviors a rating of “strongly disapprove.” In some other areas, teens overestimate their parents’ feelings of strong disapproval: consuming alcohol (eight percentage-point difference) and consuming marijuana (seven points). When thinking about their peer group, teens do not anticipate nearly the same degree of pushback. For instance, 72% of teens believe their parents strongly disapprove of driving while impaired, while just 48% say the same of their friends. There is a huge mismatch between parents and teens on who is most influential in teens’ decision-making around underaged drinking; just 33% of parents believe it is them, whereas 60% of teens cite their parents as having the most sway. Just 28% of parents believe that teens are most likely to access alcohol in parent homes. Half of parents speak with their children about underaged drinking a handful of times a year (39%), or never have these conversations (12%). Majorities of parents (69%) and teens (64%) report alcohol being totally “off-limits” to teens. Eight in 10 parents support the US legal drinking age (82%), while about as many teens (79%) are aware of it. There are large differences between mothers and fathers on perceptions of risk and strong disapproval of behaviors surveyed, with mothers taking a more cautious stance. This gender divide is seen among teen girls vs. boys, as well. There is a similar pattern with younger vs. older teens – both parents of 15-16 year-olds and 15- 16 year-olds surveyed tend to be more wary of underage drinking and other behaviors. Parents in California and Colorado – states where marijuana is fully legalized – sometimes view marijuana with more trepidation than those nationally. Teens in Arizona, North Carolina, and Ohio lag behind those nationwide in viewing many behaviors as high risk, suggesting an opportunity for outreach.

Parents associate impaired driving – both getting behind the wheel impaired (76%) and riding as a passenger with an impaired driver (69%) – and binge drinking (70%) as most high risk to teens.


Mothers Against Drunk Driving

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