• March/April 2001
  • Vol. 2, No. 2

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Report to Congress Shows Alcohol Abuse Prevalent in Homes with Children

Alcohol and children don't mix. Alcohol ingestion by pregnant women places babies at risk for severe developmental disabilities; alcohol abuse in families places children at risk for violence, abuse, neglect, accidental injury, and--eventually--for becoming alcohol dependent themselves.

The 10th Special Report to the U.S. Congress on Alcohol and Health details significant new scientific findings about alcohol use and alcoholism, including new information about how alcohol damages the brain and other organs, from prenatal exposure to later in life.

The report found that one in four children under the age of 18 lives in a household with one or more family members who are alcohol-dependent or abuse alcohol. Researchers are still unclear as to the role heredity plays in alcoholism.

Besides the basic relationship between alcohol use and violence, the report notes that researchers have begun to focus on the following areas:

  • Role of personality and situational factors
  • Youthful perpetrators
  • Alcohol use by victims of violence
  • Environments in which violence occurs.

In examining parenting and the family environment, researchers find that alcohol-abusing parents have poor parenting skills--lack of parental emotional support, lack of control and monitoring of child behavior--that lead to early conduct problems and early onset of alcohol use. Children in these families also may lack emotional and behavioral control and social skills.

The 492-page report is available online at: http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/10report/intro.pdf.

To order a print copy, contact: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Suite 409 Willco Building 6000 Executive Blvd. MSC 7003 Bethesda, MD 2089207003 Phone: (301) 443-3860

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