Long-term psychosocial effects of childhood exposure to parental problem drinking.
OBJECTIVE: The effects of childhood exposure to parental problem drinking remain unclear because of inconsistent findings and methodologic difficulties in previous studies. The authors used a large community sample to examine whether exposure to parental problem drinking in childhood was related to a greater number of psychiatric symptoms and impaired social and occupational functioning in adulthood. METHOD: The study used self-report data from the Piedmont Health Survey, a project of the Epidemiologic Catchment Area program, which were collected from a stratified random sample of 2,936 adults residing in a five-county catchment area in North Carolina. The National Institute of Mental Health Diagnostic Interview Schedule was used to measure the subjects' lifetime psychiatric symptoms. Social and occupational functioning were assessed with two scales measuring social support, a scale measuring occupational prestige, and an occupational problem index. Regression analyses were used to determine whether exposure to parental problem drinking in childhood was associated with adverse psychosocial outcomes in adulthood. RESULTS: Adults who had been exposed to parental problem drinking in childhood were more likely to manifest psychiatric symptoms and marital instability, but they showed no difference from the rest of the sample in occupational functioning. CONCLUSIONS: Exposure to parental problem drinking in childhood is positively associated with specific adverse effects in adulthood even after controlling for other confounding childhood risk factors.
Greenfield, SF; Swartz, MS; Landerman, LR; George, LK
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