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28 May 2004

Alcoholic stepfathers spell trouble

Girls living with an alcoholic stepfather face a higher risk of developing behaviour problems than boys in the same household situation do.

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Girls living with an alcoholic stepfather face a higher risk of developing behaviour problems than boys in the same household situation do.

That gender divergence is reported in the May issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

The study also found that risk for behaviour problems was higher among girls who live with an alcoholic stepfather than girls who live with their alcoholic biological father.

How the study was conducted
Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University, USA, interviewed 1 580 twin youths from intact families and 166 youths from stepfather families, assessing whether they suffered psychiatric problems. Parents and stepfathers were interviewed about their lifetime history of alcoholism, antisocial behaviour, anxiety, depression, panic disorder or social phobia.

"Our findings suggest that alcoholism in a stepfather may explain a significant portion of the increased risk for conduct disorder symptoms in girls in stepfamilies, perhaps as a result of the disrupted and stressful family environment often associated with parental alcoholism," lead author Debra Foley said in a prepared statement.

Mothers in stepfamilies suffered more alcoholism, antisocial behaviour, major depression and social phobia than mothers in intact families, while stepfathers had a higher incidence of alcoholism and major depression than biological fathers in intact families. - (HealthDayNews)

Read more:
Alcoholism runs in the family
Alcohol abuse and dependence - the difference

 
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