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Paternal alcohol misuse in UK military families: A cross-sectional study of child emotional and behavioural problems

May, 2021
Article:

When parents drink unhealthy amounts of alcohol, it can have negative consequences for their children’s mental health. Although some evidence has shown that members of the military may consume alcohol at unhealthy levels, no study has yet looked at the possible impact on children connected to military families. The authors completed a study among children of UK fathers who served in the military and determined that alcohol misuse by fathers who serve in the military may negatively affect their children’s behaviour. More research is needed to confirm this relationship and identify targets for prevention and harm reduction.

Abstract

This study explores the association between paternal alcohol misuse and child emotional and behavioural problems in a representative sample of UK military families. A total of 595 fathers and 1,002 children were included in the study; 364 fathers were classed as misusing alcohol (weighted 62.3%). Paternal alcohol misuse was associated with higher odds of conduct disorders (OR 1.39; 95% CI, 0.98-1.98), although this association was not statistically significant (p = 0.07). A significant association between paternal alcohol misuse and conduct disorders was apparent for girls and in the restricted analysis of the children of fathers who did not report symptoms of depression or posttraumatic stress disorder. This study suggests that paternal alcohol misuse may have an effect on the well-being of children in military families. Further studies replicating this association are warranted.

Full Reference

Paternal alcohol misuse in UK military families: A cross-sectional study of child emotional and behavioural problems. Mahar Alyson L., Rowe Sarah, Pernet David, Wickersham Alice, Aiken Alice B., Wessely Simon, and Fear Nicola T. Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health 2021 7:2, 81-92.

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