What is it about?

There is evidence that when parents talk to their teenage children about alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, young people are less likely to use these substances. Young people who are considered 'looked‐after' (who are in the care of the state, in foster, residential or kinship care) are at greater risk of early use of substances, higher rates of use, and more problematic use. However, there is no evidence regarding whether these conversations occur in settings where the parental role is assumed by someone other than the biological parent. The aim of the study was to examine how carers communicate with looked‐after young people about alcohol, tobacco, and drug use.

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Why is it important?

The study findings highlighted the different activities carers used to talk to young people about substance use. Participants talked about “shared doing” as a way of building relationships and communicating about substance use. Shared doing encompassed particular activities that carers and young people would do together, such as driving in the car, cooking, watching TV, and going for a walk. Shared doing provided an opportunity to spend time together and to create an environment in which communication could be facilitated. These environments were shaped by space, time, and context. Carers should be encouraged to take advantage of the time‐limited occasions they are with young people to have conversations about substance use.


This article comes from my PhD study.

Dr Hannah Carver
University of Stirling

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The experiences of carers in using shared activities to communicate with looked-after young people about alcohol, tobacco, and drug use, Child & Family Social Work, July 2018, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1111/cfs.12590.
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