RISK OF PSYCHOSOCIAL PROBLEMS IN CHILDREN WHOSE PARENTS RECEIVE OUTPATIENT SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT

  • Marina E. Geschiere Parnassia Group
  • Renske Spijkerman Parnassia Group
  • Anke de Glopper Parnassia Group
Keywords: substance abuse treatment, mental health, children of substance abusers, psychosocial problems, Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire

Abstract

The entrance of parents into substance abuse treatment provides a unique opportunity to discuss parenting with them, and to inquire about the psychological wellbeing of their children. This is important because parental substance abuse is associated with an increased risk for the development of mental health problems in children. In this study, clients from a Dutch outpatient treatment facility who had custody of or regular contact with their children completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) about their children aged 4 to 17 years (N = 99), after being referred to a parenting consultation with a specialized professional. Compared to other studies conducted in Western Europe and Australia with similar at-risk populations, the SDQ results in the present study suggested a lower percentage of children with psychosocial problem behavior. Still, 29% of the children in our sample showed psychosocial problems in the clinical range. According to logistic regression analyses, which tested associations between client and family characteristics and risk of psychosocial problems, 5 factors (client’s gender, education level, presence of financial debts, child’s age, and absence of siblings) were associated with a higher likelihood of one or more types of psychosocial problems. Present findings suggest that, of children whose substance-abusing parents enter outpatient treatment, almost one third may have psychosocial problems that require further assessment and treatment.
Published
2017-07-26
Section
Articles