PDFNJ Releases Annual Parent Tracking Survey - 2009



March 24, 2009

Angelo Valente
Executive Director
Phone: 201-919-1136

Click here for the full 2009 Parent Tracking Survey Power Point presentation


Regular Family Meals Increase Conservations Between Parents and Children about Substance Abuse Prevention

NJ Parents Report that Regular Meals Together Make Their Child More Likely To Discuss the Issues of Drugs and Alcohol In Their Homes


(TRENTON) -- A study released today by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey’s (PDFNJ) Center for Prevention Research (CPR), found that parents who eat five to seven meals together with their children are significantly more likely to feel they have a great influence over their child’s attitude toward drugs and alcohol and have children who are 30% more likely to start a discussion with them about drugs and alcohol, then those who eat four meals a week together or less.

“For close to twenty years, whether through the media, in the home, in the workplace, or at school, the message of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey has been that the best tool a parent has to keep their child away from the dangers of drugs and alcohol is to talk to them, and in today’s busy world, the easiest place to do this is while sharing a family meal” said Joseph A. Miele, chairman of PDFNJ. “The 2009 Tracking Survey of Parents’ Attitudes & Behaviors Toward Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention shows that New Jersey parents by the simple act of eating a meal with their child are creating an environment for their children to feel comfortable about approaching them with discussions about drugs and alcohol.”

According to Miele the study found, “A significant difference occurs between parents of families who have 5-7 meals per week together and those parents of families that have meals together 4 times or less per week.  More than nine in ten parents who have frequent meals with their families feel that they have a lot of influence on their child’s attitudes towards drugs and alcohol as compared to those parents who have infrequent meals with their families (95% vs. 72%).”

The study found that parents who eat frequently with their child are more likely to monitor their child’s daily activities, and do other activities together, such as go on vacation, watch TV and spend time outdoors.

“At the same time, there may be disconnect between parents and children insofar was the reasons why kids might take drugs,” notes Peter Silsbee, Vice President of GFK Roper, the firm conducting the research.  “A recent survey we conducted for the Partnership for a Drug Free America found that the number one reason teens cited for taking drugs was "coping with school stress" cited by 73%.  In this study for the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey, we find the top reason parents cite for kids using drugs is to look cool (72%).”  In addition, the survey found more than half of parents feel that major reasons teens use drugs are to “help them feel better about themselves” or to “help them deal with problems at home” (56%, 53% respectively).  Only forty-four percent (44%) of New Jersey parents cited the pressure and stress of school.”

Another important finding of the study is that nearly all New Jersey parents (95%) feel that their children’s behavior is influenced by their own behavior with drugs and alcohol.

 “This finding points to the fact that New Jersey Parents are becoming increasingly more aware of their role in influencing their child’s behavior,” noted PDFNJ Executive Director Angelo M. Valente.


Key findings from the PDFNJ survey, include:

v     71% of parents of a 12 to 15 year old in New Jersey agree that drugs are a serious problem in their community.

v     New Jersey parents who see PDFNJ Public Service Announcements almost everyday or more often are 31% more likely then those who see them one to three times a month to report that they were given new information or told things they did not know about drug and alcohol abuse

v     95% of parents feel that parents should be liable if a child’s friend drinks alcohol at the parent’s home.

v     44% of parents think their children are getting alcohol at home, while only one quarter feel they get it from the liquor cabinets of friends or relatives (25%, 23% respectively).

v     When parents were asked if they are in favor of leaving the drinking age at 21 or lowering it to 18, three quarters (76%) said they favor leaving it at 21.  Less than two in ten (16%) are in favor of lowering it to 18.

v     When asked their level of agreement with the statement “it is ok for your child or children to drink at their friend’s home,” nearly all parents disagreed strongly or somewhat (97%, of that 93% disagree strongly). 

The Center for Prevention Research is a division of PDFNJ. CPR commissions annual research projects conducted by firms and researchers, provides grant support to New Jersey scholars researching all substance abuse related issues, and acts as a central depository of information for all members of the New Jersey prevention community, government officials and the media to utilize. CPR works in cooperation with the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse and the New Jersey Department of Human Services.

PDFNJ’s Center for Prevention Research commissioned Roper/GFK Public Affairs & Media, a leader in public affairs research for over three quarters of a century, to conduct a study to examine the attitudes of New Jersey parents pertaining to drug prevention. The PDFNJ Survey of Parents’ Attitudes & Behaviors toward Drug Prevention, an annual survey currently in its fourth year, polled a sample of over 506 parents with children ages 12 to 15. The sample was randomly drawn from a listed sample and conducted between January 21- February 5, 2009. Data was weighted to New Jersey census data for key demographics of households with children ages 12-15. The margin of error at the 95% confidence level is +/- 5 percentage points for the total sample.


This Press Release and an Executive Summary of the Survey of New Jersey Drug-Free Workplace Policies and Practices can be found on the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey website, www.drugfreenj.org.


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Best known for its statewide anti-drug advertising campaign, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is a private not-for-profit coalition of professionals from the communications, corporate and government communities whose collective mission is to reduce demand for illicit drugs in New Jersey through media communication.  To date, more than $50 million in broadcast time and print space has been donated to the Partnership’s New Jersey campaign, making it the largest public service advertising campaign in New Jersey’s history. Since its inception the Partnership has garnered over 46 Advertising and Public Relations Awards from National, Regional & Statewide Media Organizations.