Parent–child Engagement in Decision-making and the Development of Adolescent Affective Decision Capacity and Binge-drinking

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Child Psychology | Developmental Psychology | Family, Life Course, and Society | Mental and Social Health | Social Psychology | Substance Abuse and Addiction


The goal of this study was to investigate how parents’ engagement of their child in everyday decision-making influenced their adolescent’s development on two neuropsychological functions, namely, affective decision-making and working memory, and its effect on adolescent binge-drinking behavior.

We conducted a longitudinal study of 192 Chinese adolescents. In 10th grade, the adolescents were tested for their affective decision-making ability using the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) and working memory capacity using the Self-ordered Pointing Test (SOPT). Questionnaires were used to assess perceived parent–child engagement in decision-making, academic performance and drinking behavior. At one-year follow-up, the same neuropsychological tasks and questionnaires were repeated.

Results indicate that working memory and academic performance were uninfluenced by parent–child engagement in decision-making. However, compared to adolescents whose parents made solitary decisions for them, adolescents engaged in everyday decision-making showed significant improvement on affective decision capacity and significantly less binge-drinking one year later.

These findings suggest that parental engagement of children in everyday decision-making might foster the development of neurocognitive functioning relative to affective decision-making and reduce adolescent substance use behaviors.

Rights Information

© 2011 Elsevier Ltd.