European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 219–226 | Cite as

Behavioural and emotional problems in children of alcoholic mothers and fathers

  • H. Bygholm Christensen
  • N. Bilenberg


 The Child Behavior Check List (CBCL) was used to compare a sample of 103 Danish children of alcoholics (CoA) to a Danish population-based sample (N = 780). The CoA had a significantly greater incidence of symptoms on 17 of the 118 CBCL items. Compared to the reference population, daughters of alcoholics were more impaired than sons of alcoholics on most CBCL measures. In families with maternal alcoholism daughters had higher internalising and depression scores than sons, and in families with paternal alcoholism, sons had higher internalising and depression scores than daughters. The CoA also had a significantly greater risk of scoring above the 95th percentile on internalising behaviour, depression symptoms and socially deviant behaviour. On all CBCL dimensions, almost half of the CoA samples functioned as well as the average of the reference population. The results from this study suggest that CoA should be regarded as a risk group but with very heterogeneous consequences in response to parental alcoholism.

Key words Children of alcoholics – Child Behavior Check List (CBCL) – emotional problems – behavioural problems 


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Bygholm Christensen
    • 1
  • N. Bilenberg
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Alcohol Treatment Brend-Strup-vej 23 DK-8200 Aarhus N, Denmark e-mail:
  2. 2.Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Department, University of Odense Denmark and Institute of Basic Psychiatric Research, Department of Psychiatric Demography, Aarhus Psychiatric Hospital DK-8240 Risskov, DenmarkDK

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