Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 26, Issue 6, pp 453-466

First online:

Pathways of Risk for Accelerated Heavy Alcohol Use Among Adolescent Children of Alcoholic Parents

  • Andrea M. HussongAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • , Patrick J. CurranAffiliated withDuke University
  • , Laurie ChassinAffiliated withArizona State University

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The current study examined two questions. First, do internalizing symptoms and externalizing behavior each mediate the relations between parent psychopathology (alcoholism, antisocial personality disorder, and affective disorder) and growth in adolescent heavy alcohol use? Second, are there gender differences in these mediated pathways? Using latent curve analyses, we examined these questions in a high-risk sample of 439 families (53% children of alcoholic parents; 47% female). Collapsing across gender, adolescent-reported externalizing behavior mediated both the relation between parent alcoholism and growth in heavy alcohol use and the relation between parent antisociality and growth in heavy alcohol use. Parent-reported externalizing behavior only mediated the relation between parent antisociality and growth in heavy alcohol use in males. No support was found for internalizing symptoms as a mediator of these relations. Avenues are suggested for further exploring and integrating information about different mediating processes accounting for children of alcoholics' risk for heavy alcohol use.

Parent alcoholism adolescent alcohol use externalizing behavior internalizing symptoms gender