The impact of parental drinking on children's use of health care

Ana I. Balsa, Michael T. French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


While a significant body of literature documents the health problems of children caused by and/or associated with parental alcohol misuse, little research has been conducted on the relationship between parental problem drinking and children's use of health care. We should expect to see an increase in children's health care if alcohol-misusing parents were responsive to their children's higher physical and mental health needs. Contrarily, it would decrease (conditional on health status) if alcohol-misusing parents were irresponsive to those needs. Analyzing a nationally representative sample of parents and children, we find a positive and significant association between parental high intensity drinking and pediatric visits for their children. We also find evidence linking parental drinking to more emergency room use. These findings suggest that the impact of parental drinking on child well-being should be considered when assessing the full costs of alcohol misuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-460
Number of pages11
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol misuse
  • Children of alcoholics
  • Children's health care
  • Costs of alcohol use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of parental drinking on children's use of health care'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this