Comparisons of Adult Children of Alcoholic, Divorced, and Control Parents in Four Outcome Domains

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This study evaluated potential differences among 82 adult children of paternal alcoholics, 80 adult children of divorced parents, and 82 controls. Participants completed questionnaires assessing psychosocial functioning, internalizing and externalizing behaviors, alcohol use, and early family environment. After controlling for stressors often associated with alcoholic families, the authors found no group differences on current outcome measures. However, there were group differences on measures of early family environment. Children of alcoholics reported less father warmth than children of divorce or controls, and children of alcoholic and divorced parents reported more parental conflict than did controls. Post hoc analyses revealed that these early family environment variables were associated with participants' current psychosocial functioning.

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