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). "

    Full-text · Article · Mar 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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    Preview · Article · Mar 2006 · Journal of clinical outcomes management: JCOM
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