*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on StudyFinds.
Children of heavy drinkers are more likely to develop depression and other mental health problems, a new study warns. A team from Aarhus University in Denmark says these youngsters are also more likely to need hospitalization and exhibit criminal behavior later on.
“Within the last 10 years, there has been an expansion of research on consequences that extend beyond the drinker,” says co-author Dr. Julie Brummer in a media release.
“Although some studies show that harm because of strangers’ drinking may be more prevalent, harms caused by close relations, such as household family members and friends, may be more severe and distressing.”
Study authors discovered that a parent’s excessive drinking can lead to a range of poor outcomes in their children, which they call “alcohol’s harms to others” (AHTO). This phenomenon includes higher rates of mental health disorders, infant and child mortality, and criminal convictions.
The study finds academic achievements among these children are also lower, and rates of abuse, neglect, or foster care placement increase. The team report that there is an elevated risk for hospitalizations for physical illness and injury in childhood or adolescence, too.
The findings are based on a review of register-based studies of hospital and other centralized records. The data provides the fullest picture to date of the harm a family member’s alcohol abuse can cause to their children.
The study appears in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.