Citation Kuppens S, Moore SC, Gross V, Lowthian E & Siddaway AP (2020) The Enduring Effects of Parental Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Use on Child Well-being: A Multilevel Meta-Analysis. Development and Psychopathology, 32 (2), pp. 765-778. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579419000749
Abstract The effects of psychoactive substance abuse are not limited to the user, but extend to the entire family system, with children of substance abusers being particularly at risk. This meta-analysis attempted to quantify the longitudinal relationship between parental alcohol, tobacco, and drug use and child well-being, investigating variation across a range of substance and well-being indices and other potential moderators. We performed a literature search of peer-reviewed, English language, longitudinal observational studies that reported outcomes for children aged 0 to 18 years. In total, 56 studies, yielding 220 dependent effect sizes, met inclusion criteria. A multilevel random-effects model revealed a statistically significant, small detriment to child well-being for parental substance abuse over time (r = .15). Moderator analyses demonstrated that the effect was more pronounced for parental drug use (r = .25), compared with alcohol use (r = .13), tobacco use (r = .13), and alcohol use disorder (r = .14). Results highlight a need for future studies that better capture the effect of parental psychoactive substance abuse on the full breadth of childhood well-being outcomes and to integrate substance abuse into models that specify the precise conditions under which parental behavior determines child well-being.