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Relationships Between Adult Women's Alcohol Problems and Their Childhood Experiences of Parental Violence and Psychological Aggression

NCJ Number
Journal of Studies on Alcohol Volume: 65 Issue: 3 Dated: May 2004 Pages: 336-344
Date Published
May 2004
9 pages

This study examined links between a diagnosis of alcohol dependence for women (using criteria of the International Classification of Diseases) and their childhood experiences of mother and father physical abuse and psychological aggression, controlling for a number of covariates; and it examined these links for women of different ethnic groups.


The study found that being diagnosed for alcohol dependence, being unemployed, and not being Black were significantly related to a higher likelihood of a lifetime diagnosis of alcohol dependence. Childhood mother psychological aggression was found to be significantly linked to alcohol dependence, and childhood father psychological aggression was found to be significantly related to alcohol dependence for non-White women, but not for White women. Childhood mother and father physical abuse were both significantly related to alcohol dependence, but only for women who did not report childhood sexual abuse. Based on these findings, the authors recommend that adult women's experiences of childhood mother and father abuse should be examined separately with women of different ethnicities and samples of women who are receiving services for different problems. The study used samples of women in treatment for substance-use disorders (n = 225) and women receiving services for domestic violence (n = 222). All volunteered to participate in the study. The Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scales were used to assess retrospectively the women's experiences of parental aggression during childhood; and the Composite International tables and Diagnostic Interview was used to diagnose alcohol dependence. 3 tables and 26 references

Date Published: May 1, 2004