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Monday, February 13, 2012

The Impact of Parental Drinking on Children's Use of Health Care

While a significant body of literature documents the health problems of children caused by and/or associated with parental alcohol misuse, little research has been conducted on the relationship between parental problem drinking and children's use of health care.

We should expect to see an increase in children's health care if alcohol-misusing parents were responsive to their children's higher physical and mental health needs. Contrarily, it would decrease (conditional on health status) if alcohol-misusing parents were irresponsive to those needs.

Analyzing a nationally representative sample of parents and children, we find a positive and significant association between parental high intensity drinking and pediatric visits for their children.

We also find evidence linking parental drinking to more emergency room use.

These findings suggest that the impact of parental drinking on child well-being should be considered when assessing the full costs of alcohol misuse.

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