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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2015

Identifying binge drinkers based on parenting dimensions and alcohol-specific parenting practices: building classifiers on adolescent-parent paired data

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2015
Rik Crutzen, Philippe J. Giabbanelli, Astrid Jander, Liesbeth Mercken, Hein de Vries
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

RC, PJG, and AJ initiated the study design. RC, AJ, LM, and HdV developed the questionnaire. AJ took the lead in the data collection. PJG conducted the data analysis. RC and PJG wrote a first version of the manuscript. AJ, LM, and HdV have been involved in revising the manuscript critically for important intellectual content. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Most Dutch adolescents aged 16 to 18 engage in binge drinking. Previous studies have investigated how parenting dimensions and alcohol-specific parenting practices are related to adolescent alcohol consumption. Mixed results have been obtained on both dimensions and practices, highlighting the complexity of untangling alcohol-related factors. The aim of this study was to investigate (1) whether parents’ reports of parenting dimensions and alcohol-specific parenting practices, adolescents’ perceptions of these dimensions and practices, or a combination are most informative to identify binge drinkers, and (2) which of these parenting dimensions and alcohol-specific parenting practices are most informative to identify binge drinkers.


Survey data of 499 adolescent-parent dyads were collected. The computational technique of data mining was used to allow for a data driven exploration of nonlinear relationships. Specifically, a binary classification task, using an alternating decision tree, was conducted and measures regarding the performance of the classifiers are reported after a 10-fold cross-validation.


Depending on the parenting dimension or practice, parents’ reports correctly identified the drinking behaviour of 55.8 % (using psychological control) up to 70.2 % (using rules) of adolescents. Adolescents’ perceptions were best at identifying binge drinkers whereas parents’ perceptions were best at identifying non-binge drinkers.


Of the parenting dimensions and practices, rules are particularly informative in understanding drinking behaviour. Adolescents’ perceptions and parents’ reports are complementary as they can help identifying binge drinkers and non-binge drinkers respectively, indicating that surveying specific aspects of adolescent-parent dynamics can improve our understanding of complex addictive behaviours.
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