We tested associations in structural models among parent individual problems (severity of drug problems, medical problems, psychiatric symptoms), family problems, and children's internalizing and externalizing problems. Results were compared for cocaine versus opiate dependent parents, mothers versus fathers, boys versus girls, and older versus younger children. Cocaine and opiate dependent parents in treatment (N=211) were interviewed about their substance use, psychiatric symptoms, and interpersonal problems and completed a measure of family problems. Parents also rated children's internalizing and externalizing problems. In structural models controlling for the significant correlations between parent and family problems and between children's internalizing and externalizing problems, family problems but not individual parent problems predicted children's internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Models were similar across all groups compared with the exception of parent gender, with significant relations between parent and family problems for mothers but not for fathers. In addition, older girls were more deviant relative to their same-age and gender peers than the younger girls and boys. These results suggest that the personal problems of drug dependent mothers may influence children's problems indirectly by increasing family problems. For drug dependent fathers, family problems were an independent predictor of children's problems.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by NIDA grant DA-08606 and DA-10821. We would like to acknowledge the hard work of the research staff at each site.
- Children of drug abusers
- Family problems
- Gender differences