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Monday, August 3, 2009

The Health Effects of Parental Problem Drinking on Adult Children
The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics Volume 12, Issue 2, 2009. Pages: 55-66

The objective of this study was to rigorously assess the long-term impacts of parental problem drinking on adult children's mental and self-perceived overall health. The study improves on previous literature by analyzing a range of mental health markers and other predictors of morbidity, by focusing on a period of adulthood that only a limited number of studies have examined, and by using data from a highly regarded and nationally representative panel study.

The results indicate that parental problem drinking is associated with significant mental health consequences for children that persist far into adulthood. Adult respondents with a problem-drinking father were more likely to have been diagnosed with mental health problems relative to other respondents, while those with a problem-drinking mother had poorer self-perceived health and mental health (SF-12) scores. Respondents with a problem-drinking mother were also more likely to have ever been diagnosed with a mental health problem. Outcomes were worse for daughters of problem drinkers than for sons.

These long-lasting consequences of parental problem drinking on adult children's mental health should be considered when designing and financing interventions targeting problem drinkers and their families.

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