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J Med Assoc Thai. 2012 May;95 Suppl 5:S6-11.

Impact of parental alcohol consumption on emotional and behavioral problems in children age 3-4 years.

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Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Sub Division, Department of Pediatrics, Phramongkutklao Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand.



Children of alcoholic parents have been shown to be at risk for the development of mental health, for instance a reduction in cognitive abilities and deficit in social behavior. Moreover, poor communication, under socialization, neglect, and violence are common and associated with parental drinking related stress.


To exposit the emotional and behavioral problems generated by their parents drinking behaviors.


The authors conducted a case-control study in 148 children attending the outpatient department at Phramongkutklao Hospital by using the Strength and Difficulty Questionnaire (SDQ), the children were classified into two groups which was the abnormal behavior group and normal behavior. 38 were classified as borderline groups and discarded. Subsequently, the authors used WHO screening instrument; an alcohol use disorder identification test (AUDIT) questionnaire to identify parents with hazardous and harmful patterns of alcohol consumption. The emotional and behavioral problems were compared between children whose parents had drinking problems. The authors used descriptive statistics for demographic data and Fisher Exact test for analyzing the difference between the groups of children with and without emotional and behavioral problems. To compare emotional and behavioral problems between children whose parents had alcohol drinking problems and whose parents had no drinking problem, Fisher exact test and odd ratio with 95% confidence interval were performed.


There was no difference in demographic data. 95% of families were married, 73.6% of fathers worked for the government and only 22% had more than 12 years of education. 36% of mothers were employed as well as being housewife mothers. Birth order had statistical difference in both groups (p = 0.006). 52% were the last child and 32% were the only child. The overall emotional and behavioral problems were not statistically different (OR = 1.07, 95% CI = 0.508-2.27) from those whose parents did not have the problem. More specifically, the hyperactivity and emotional problems were not more common in children with a parental drinking problem (OR = 1.2, 95% CI = 0.4-3.4, OR = 1.17, 95% CI = 0.07-19.3, respectively). There were no differences between conduct, peer problems and pro social behaviors in children of both groups (OR = 0.85, 95% CI = 0.34-2.1, p = 0.81; OR = 0.14, 95% CI = 0.016-1.2, OR = 0.4, 95% CI = 0.14-1.17, respectively).


There was no difference of emotional and behavioral problem in children between the groups of parents with and without alcohol drinking problems. The limitation of the present study was probably due to small sample size, the design of questionnaire and confounding factors which was 21% of both groups who lived in an extended family. Moreover, mothers had the major role in taking care of the children in about half of the families but the parents who had alcohol problems were fathers which was 92 percent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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