Are Adolescents With Abusive Parents At A Greater Risk Of Abusing Drugs Or Alcohol?

1886 words - 8 pages

Introduction
Recent studies have shown the number of people receiving alcohol and drug treatments may have been abused as a child (Cohen & Densen-Gerber, 1982). Data collected from 178 patients seeking drug/alcohol treatment determined that 84% of the patients have a history of being abused as a child (ibid). Young adults who are physically assaulted or sexually assaulted, been witnesses to violence, or who have family members with an alcohol or drug problem have an increased risk for current substance abuse or dependence (Malinosky & Hansen, 1993; Duncan, Saunders, Kilpatrick, Hanson, & Resnick, 2010; Marcencko, Kemp, & Larson, 2010). The purpose of this research is to determine if children who are abused physically or emotionally as a child will develop drug or alcohol habits or addictions as an adult. Findings are expected to a positive correlation between children who are abused and the future drug habits that may form because of this previous abuse. Surveys will be handed out to collect data; surveys will be given to 50 people at Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School, in St. Catharines, Ontario. Limitations of this research that will affect the outcome are the very limited sample groups, as the sample size of this research is only 50 students. Another limitation will be the students being unwilling to reveal if they have been abused or have developed substance use issues.

Review of the Literature

Introduction
Recent studies have shown more than 1 million children in the United States experience some form of abuse or neglect (Widom & Hiller-Sturmhöfel, 2001). Child abuse is a common type of violence that is associated with alcohol or drug use and abuse, either as a result of the abuse or a causing factor (ibid). According to Cohen & Densen-Gerber (1982) factors such as physical, mental, sexual abuse and even parental substance abuse can increase the risk of a child developing an abuse problem during adulthood. The purpose of this literature review is to investigate if, indeed children with an abusive past could develop an alcohol or drug problem.
Parents who abuse drugs, alcohol, & children
The main focus of this study is to examine if children who are abused are at a greater risk of forming substance abuse problems. A possible cause for their parents abusing them may because of drug/alcohol use. Ammerman, Kolko, Kirisci, Blackson & Dawes’ (1999) study attempted to examine the relationship between parental histories of substances use disorders and abuse potential. The findings determined that if parents abuse substances, a greater risk of abusive behavior is shown towards their children. If a child is a witness to parent’s substance abuse, and is a victim to parent’s violent behavior the child could start to mimic both of these problems.
Children mimicking addictive/ violent behavior
The abuse received from parents could be a contributing factor to this potential problem. But if parents are abusive and have a substance...

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