The children of parents who consume alcohol heavily have a higher risk of a number of adverse experiences such as mental health disorders, criminal behaviour and hospitalizations, claims a new review in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
The researchers said that the children of parents who drank heavily experienced a range of poor outcomes named “alcohol’s harms to others.” Apart from mental health disorders, criminal behaviour and hospitalizations, the heavy drinking habit of parents led to infant/child mortality and later being convicted of a crime. They were also likely to have a lower academic achievement, experience abuse and/or neglect and have an out-of-home placement, the report said..
In the last ten years, a lot of research was involved with respect to consequences beyond the drinker. Some studies show that the harms caused by strangers’ drinking may be more prevalent. Other studies show that harms caused by close relations, such as household family members and friends, may be more severe and distressing.
Lead author Julie Brummer points out that most researches relied mainly on self-reports. The researcher pointed out that adults might under-report harms occurring to children in their own household. They also looked into studies of hospital and other centralized records named register-based studies to look into the harm a family member’s drinking can cause children. This helped in “more serious, persistent, and rare outcomes”, the researchers said. Brummer said that registers were able to easily link immediate family members and follow individuals over extended periods of time to study long-term outcomes.
In an accompanying review, Anne-Marie Laslett of the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research in Australia, agrees with the conclusion that register-based studies can be a valuable tool in protecting those most at risk from family members drinking
The Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs is published by the Center of Alcohol & Substance Use Studies at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey,