The next time you take your child to the pediatrician, you might find yourself answering questions about your drinking habits.
According to a recent study conducted by the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research at Children’s Hospital Boston, parents are open to being screened for problem alcohol use during their child’s checkup.
In the study, 879 parents were surveyed with an anonymous questionnaire that included two embedded alcohol screening tests and questions about how parents accepted the screening and who should perform it, among other topics. Nearly 90 percent were open to discussing alcohol use with their child’s pediatrician, the study found.
One in every nine of the participants received a positive alcohol screen that warranted additional screening for alcohol abuse.
Celeste Wilson, lead author of the study and pediatrician at the center, says parents might feel comfortable discussing their drinking habits with their child’s pediatrician because they’ve already developed a level of trust.
"(Parents have) already talked to their pediatrician about other issues and have bonded in a special way around their child and perhaps that makes them comfortable discussing this with their pediatrician," Wilson says.
There are consequences for children raised in homes where parents abuse alcohol, ranging from behavioral problems, medical problems and risk for child maltreatment, Wilson says. Children raised in these environments also have a greater likelihood of abusing substances when they get older, particularly in the teen years.
"Some of it may be genetic, but some of it may also be because of poor role modeling. They just don’t have a good sense of how to monitor alcohol because they’re not seeing it done in their home," Wilson says.
To access the full study, visit www.pediatrics.aappublications.org and search "alcohol."
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