Failure to Detect Signs of Psychological Distress in the Preschool Children of Alcoholic Parents

Joan L. Luby, Wendy Reich, Felton Earls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Due to the finding of higher rates of psychopathology in the school-age children of alcoholic parents, an increased risk of behavioral disturbances were hypothesized in preschool offspring. Forty-four children, under the age of six, who were the biological offspring of at least one alcoholic parents were studied as part of a larger family genetics project of alcoholism. Mothers were interviewed using the Behavioral Screening Questionnaire (BSQ) to assess their preschoolers’ behavioral and somatic symptomatology as well as adaptive functioning. Despite the high-risk status of these children, parental ratings were not indicative of early signs of overall distress. Higher levels of dependency attention-seeking behavior and irritability were reported only in the preschool offspring of alcoholic parents comorbid for antisocial personality disorder. The potential role of biased parental reports vs. developmental invulnerability is discussed. [Single or multiple copies of this article are available from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-342-9678, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (EST).].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-89
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1995


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