• The relationship between mother's alcohol use and child's well-being

      Yin, Tao; Soeken, Karen (2000)
      The study is aimed at: (a) testing a structural model on the relations among maternal alcohol use, family cohesion, quality of parenting, and children's well-being, and (b) examining the mediational effects of family cohesion and quality of parenting on children's well-being. The data from both the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) and the Children of NLSY79 datasets in 1994 were used to obtain a study sample of 1381 mother-child dyads. All the children in this study were between 10 and 14 years old in 1994. The mothers answered questions related to their alcohol use, such as the duration, frequency, quantity of drinking, and the impact of drinking. Information regarding family cohesion, quality of parenting, and child's well-being including psychological well-being, school performance, and child's own substance use/abuse were obtained from both the mothers and the children. A tentative model that highlights the relationships among these four constructs was developed based on literature review. Structural equation modeling was used to test the model in a random-split sample, which contained 691 of the subjects. The final revised theoretical model was cross-validated using the rest of the total sample. Although the chi-square test value for the overall model fit of the final revised theoretical model is 882.7, with df = 454, p < 0.01, the ratio of the chi2/df is less than 2, indicating an acceptable fit. The fitness of the model to the sample is also supported by other fit indices, such as the GFI, CFI, and the NNFI. In this model, mother's alcohol use is associated with decreased family cohesion, and decreased family cohesion contributes to child's increased level of substance use/abuse. In addition, higher level of parental control/discipline is also associated with lower level of child's substance use/abuse, higher level of psychological well-being, and better school performance. The cross-validation also partially supports the external validity of the model. Early intervention aimed at promoting children's development may need to focus on how to promote closeness within the family and the quality of parenting rather than mother's own alcohol use behaviors.