Purpose: The current study was designed to investigate the unique, long-term effects of family routines during adolescence on multiple developmental domains in young adulthood for rural African-Americans. Methods: Prospective data were collected annually for 6 years from 504 rural African-American youth and their parents, beginning when the youth were 16 years of age. Results: Results indicated that youth whose primary caregivers reported more family routines during adolescence (e.g., regularly eating together as a family, consistent bedtime) reported less alcohol use, greater emotional self-regulation, lower epinephrine levels, and higher rates of college/university enrollment in young adulthood. These effects were evident for all outcomes controlling for socioeconomic risk, sex, and available baseline (age 16 years) measures; for a subset of outcomes, the effects of family routines persisted even after taking into account levels of supportive parenting, harsh parenting, and household chaos. Conclusions: Findings substantiate the benefits of consistent, predictable family environments for healthy development and suggest that family routines constitute an important, yet understudied, factor for adolescents’ long-term development.
- Alcohol use
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health