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Addict Behav. 2006 Nov;31(11):1988-2001. Epub 2006 Feb 28.

Relations among parental substance use, violence exposure and mental health: the national survey of adolescents.

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National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, USA. <>



To study the relations among parental substance use, violence exposure and psychopathology in a nationally representative sample of adolescents.


Random digit dialing methodology was used to obtain a nationally representative sample of 4023 adolescents, ages 12-17. Telephone surveys, conducted in 1995, assessed demographics, parental substance use, violence exposure, and three psychiatric disorders: major depressive disorder (MDE), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance abuse/dependence (SA/D).


Obtained prevalence rates included: 8.2% for sexual assault, 22.5% for physical assault, and 39.7% for witnessing violence at home or in the community. Substance use by a family member was reported by 18.4% (n=721) of adolescents, with 50.6% reporting parental alcohol use and 19.1% (n=138) reporting parental drug use. Consistent with hypotheses, violence exposure and parental substance use, particularly parental alcohol abuse, were independently associated with outcomes. Additionally, parental substance use emerged as a moderator for MDE, PTSD, and SA/D; however, the moderating relations varied according to the outcome variable investigated.


Violence-exposed adolescents reporting parental alcohol or drug use had the highest rates of psychiatric diagnoses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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