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Teens of Dads Who Drink Too Much Tend to Follow Suit

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

Teens who live with alcohol-abusing fathers are at higher risk for alcohol or drug abuse themselves, a U.S. government study says.

Data from more than 11,000 fathers and 9,500 father-child pairs between 2002 and 2007 found the rate of past-year alcohol use among youths aged 12 to 17 was 38.8 percent among those who lived with a father who abused alcohol, 33.2 percent among those whose father drank but didn’t have a drinking disorder and 21.1 percent among those whose father hadn’t used alcohol in the past year.

Among the fathers living with teens, more than 68 percent used alcohol but didn’t have a drinking problem, 24.2 percent didn’t have alcohol in the past year, and about 8 percent met the clinical definition of having an alcohol use disorder.

The study, conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), also found that the rates of illicit drug use among adolescents was just over 24 percent for those who lived with fathers with drinking disorders, 18.4 percent for those whose fathers drank but didn’t have a drinking disorder, and 14 percent for those whose fathers abstained from alcohol.

“Father’s Day provides another opportunity to point out the important role fathers play in influencing their children’s attitudes and behavior regarding alcohol and substance use,” Eric Broderick, SAMHSA acting administrator, said in an agency news release. “This study highlights the continuing need to educate fathers, mothers and other role models about the profound impact their drinking behavior can have on their children.”

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