Parental alcohol use disorders and child delinquency: The mediating effects of executive functioning and chronic family stress

Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia, 200 South 7th Street, Columbia, Missouri 65211-0001, USA.
Journal of studies on alcohol 02/2005; 66(1):14-22. DOI: 10.15288/jsa.2005.66.14
Source: PubMed


This study examines the relationship between parental alcohol use disorders (AUDs) and child violent and nonviolent delinquency. It also explores the mediating effects of executive functioning and chronic family stress on the parental AUD/child delinquency relationship.
Participants were 816 families with children (414 boys and 402 girls) born between 1981 and 1984 at Mater Misericordiae Mother's Hospital in Brisbane, Australia. Parents and children completed semistructured interviews, questionnaires and neuropsychological tests that assessed parental alcohol use, family psychiatric history, chronic family stress, child delinquency and child executive functioning.
Paternal (but not maternal) AUDs predicted child violent and nonviolent delinquency. Executive functioning mediated the relationship between paternal AUDs and violent delinquency, whereas family stress mediated the relationship between paternal AUDs and both violent and nonviolent delinquency.
Results support a biosocial conceptualization of the paternal AUD/delinquency relationship. They suggest that paternal AUDs may be associated with child executive functioning and family stress, which may in turn lead to child delinquency.

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    • "Disruptive behaviours by children, such as aggressiveness, hyperactivity and mental health problems, are particularly apparent in the sons of parents who both misuse alcohol (Schuckit & Smith, 1996; Clark et al., 1997). Several studies have also found alcohol consumption increases aggression (Hill & Muka, 1996; Barnow et al., 2002), leading to (a) increased marital conflict and corresponding abuse of partners and children and (b) mounting household turbulence (Eiden, Edwards & Leonard, 2004; Grekin et al., 2005). "

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    ABSTRACT: The relationship between alcohol use and risk-taking is well-documented in the psychological literature. Although this area has attracted an enormous amount of research and interest, the mechanisms that underlie this relationship are not well understood. A model whereby executive functioning (disinhibition, specifically) mediated the relationship between alcohol use and risk-taking/impulsivity was proposed and tested. Although alcohol use and self-reported impulsivity were related on a number of different measures, alcohol use was largely not related to disinhibition, nor was disinhibition related to impulsivity/risk-taking. Therefore, full-fledged tests of mediation could not be performed. Study limitations and directions for future research were also discussed.^
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To assess parents' preferences for pa-rental alcohol screening and intervention during pediatric office visits for their children. • Design: Descriptive pilot study. • Setting: Pediatric primary care clinic in a large urban tertiary care hospital. • Participants: Parents or other caregivers bringing their children for medical care during 2 weeks in July/August 2001. • Measurements: Participants completed a 31-item anonymous questionnaire containing demographic items, 2 alcohol screening tests (TWEAK and AUDIT), and forced-choice response items designed to assess preferences for who should perform alco-hol screening, acceptance of screening, and desired interventions if the screening were positive. • Results: 189 (71%) of 265 eligible parents/caregivers agreed to participate. 185 questionnaires were re-turned and analyzed. 12% screened positive on the TWEAK, 8% screened positive on the AUDIT, and 13% screened positive on either test. 93% of those who screened negative said they would "welcome" or "not mind" being screened for alcohol use versus 90% of those who screened positive; this difference was not significant (P = 0.66). 61% of parents/ caregivers preferred to be screened by the pediatri-cian, 16% by a questionnaire, 6% by a nurse or nurse practitioner, and 7% did not want to be asked about their alcohol use. If their screen were to suggest an alcohol problem, 52% preferred the pediatrician talk to them about their alcohol use and give them options for getting help. The least preferred intervention was to do nothing at all. • Conclusion: 13% of parents screened positive for problem alcohol use. Most parents reported they would welcome or not mind being screened for alco-hol problems as part of the routine pediatric office visit, and that the alcohol screening should be con-ducted by the pediatrician. If they were found to have an alcohol problem, the majority of parents would want the pediatrician to discuss their alcohol use with them and refer them for additional services.
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