Secondary Effects of Alcoholism on Children

Publication Date



Master of Arts (MA)

Committee or Advisor Chair

Glenn Whitlock, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Kathy M. Shumaker, Ph.D.

Edgar R. Blount, M.D.


health, psychology, alcoholism, child abuse, transpersonal psychology, domestic violence


Child Psychology | Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence | Family, Life Course, and Society | Health Psychology | Psychology | Transpersonal Psychology


The plight of the children of alcoholics is now receiving increasing attention in both the scientific and general press. Most of this literature reports on studies that attempt to spell out specific problems in the childhood formative years that result from having an alcoholic parent. The bulk of those studies have been retrospective in nature. For the most part they deal with incidence rates (e.g. 50% of abused children or 50% of delinquent children come from alcoholic homes) and avoid direct cause and effect statements, except in two important areas. Causal relationships are being fairly well demonstrated in those studies dealing with fetal, newborn, and early childhood anomalies attributed to alcoholism in the mother (Jones, Smith, and Streissguth, 1974; Smith, 1977; Streissguth, 1976). Some authors (Goodwin, Schulsinger, Hermansen, Guze, & Winokur, 1975; Cantwell, 1972; Morrison & Stewart, 1973) have also reported a cause/effect relationship in some cases of childhood behavior and psychomotor problems in which hypersensitivity and learning defects are salient features. In the latter there are generally neurological factors due to congenital cranial anomaly as well as to psychological factors.


Department: Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology

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