Internalizing Symptoms in Children 0f Alcoholics: A Hospital-Based Cross Sectional Study
Background: A number of psychological problems have been demonstrated in Children of Alcoholics(COAs). These can be divided broadly into externalizing and internalizing symptoms. These are identified as risk factors for future psychiatric disorders, including substance use disorders. The aims of this study were to find the proportion of COAs having internalizing symptoms and to find the association of these symptoms with sociodemographic variables and severity of alcoholism.
Methods: 100 children, aged 6 to14 years, of males with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) attending various departments of a tertiary care hospital were recruited. Exclusion criteria were presence of Intellectual Developmental Delay (IDD), neurological disorders, or any already diagnosed psychiatric disorder in the child; and presence of any Axis 1 disorder other than AUD in a 1st degree relative. Fathers were assessed with AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test) and SADQ (Severity of Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire) for alcohol related problems. Children were assessed with CBCL (Child Behavior Checklist) (school age) for internalizing symptoms.
Results and Discussion: 57 fathers and their 100 children were recruited. There were 59 boys and 41 girls. The mean age of the children was 10.15±2.82 years. The internalizing raw score of the group ranged from 0 to 39, with a mean of 5.21±6.73. The internalizing t score varied from 33 to 82 with a mean of 47.42±11.94. Prevalence of internalizing symptoms was 14%, with higher prevalence in children from middle socioeconomic status. 1st child in the family had higher chance of suffering from internalizing symptoms.
Conclusion: As our sample had a high (14%) prevalence of internalizing symptoms, early identification and timely intervention can help prevent further progression. Effective policies are to be initiated to deal with internalizing symptoms in children, at least in high risk group like COAs.
Keywords: Alcoholism; children of alcoholics; internalizing symptoms.
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