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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Parental Addictions Linked To Adult Children's Depression

Growing up as a child of an alcoholic or addict...


Let's face it...in a perfect world we are lucky to be raised in a family where the disease of addiction is absent. But the fact is, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that as many as 1 in 4 children younger than age 18 is exposed to family alcohol abuse or dependence. Countless other children experience living in a household where there is parental drug abuse. We've written about this topic in the past and we feel it is an important topic because we see the results in clients we treat for alcoholism, drug abuse and co-occurring disorders.

New research links parental addictions to adult children's depression


This week a paper was published online in the journal Psychiatry Research, "The long arm of parental addictions: The association with adult children's depression in a population-based study." This study was conducted by lead author Esme Fuller-Thomson, Professor and Sandra Rotman Endowed Chair in the University of Toronto and co-authored with Robyn Katz, Vi Phan, Jessica Liddycoat, and Sarah Brennenstuhl all graduate students at the University of Toronto.


Study's parameters...


  • Researchers used a representative sample of 6268 adults from the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey ( 83% responded to the request for information)
  • Researchers were looking for the association between parental addictions and adulthood depression. 
  • Researchers controlled for four clusters of variable: adverse childhood experiences, adult health behaviors, adult socioeconomic status and other stressors. 

Study's findings...


  •  After controlling for all factors, adults exposed to parental addiction had 69% higher odds of depression compared to their peers with non-addicted parents.
  •  The relationship between parental addictions and depression did not vary by gender.

Co-author's observations


According to a Medical Express article:
This study could not determine the cause of the relationship between parental addictions and adult depression. Co-author Robyn Katz, suggests that "It is possible that the prolonged and inescapable strain of parental addictions may permanently alter the way these children's bodies reacts to stress throughout their life. One important avenue for future research is to investigate potential dysfunctions in cortisol production – the hormone that prepares us for 'fight or flight' –which may influence the later development of depression."

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