The long-term consequences of parental alcohol abuse: a cohort study of children in Denmark

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2003 Sep;25(2):107-16. doi: 10.1016/s0740-5472(03)00116-8.


The aim of this study is to consider whether parents' abuse of alcohol has an impact on children during their formative years. The research is based on data from 84,765 children born in Denmark in 1966. These children and their parents were followed between 1979 and 1993. Information was analyzed from government registers covering health, education, family separation, suicidal behavior, criminality, and unemployment, using a discrete time Cox-regression model. Results showed that the parents' alcohol abuse may frame the childhood with parental violence, very high occurrence of family separations, and often foster care. The parental abuse of alcohol may influence several long-term consequences for their 15- to 27-year-old children such as increased mortality, self-destructive behaviors (e.g. attempted suicide or drug addiction). Hospitalization due to violence, an increased risk of teenage pregnancy and unemployment were also seen more frequently among cases where the parents were alcohol abusers. Mothers' alcohol abuse seemed to be associated with higher occurrences of all the mentioned disadvantages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child of Impaired Parents / psychology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk
  • Social Problems / statistics & numerical data*