Article Title

Influential Factors of Parental Substance and Alcohol Abuse on Children’s Academic Achievement


There is much research to support the idea that parental involvement benefits a child's educational performance. There is also strong evidence demonstrating that parental substance or alcohol abuse increases a child's risk for behavioral problems that include drug and alcohol abuse, social-skill deficits, and low educational attainment. Very little current research has focused specifically on children of substance abusers who, against the odds, achieve academically. This study investigates the relationship between parental substance or alcohol abuse and children’s academic achievement. Data will be collected using a self-report survey from adult-children who self-identify as being a child of a past or present substance or alcohol abuser. This study hopes to identify strategies that were used by the subjects to surmount family dysfunction and which helped them to achieve academically. It is expected that these strategies could be used as interventions to help other students by encouraging their academic progress and achievement even amid dysfunctional, substance abusing family situations. Positive psychological theory and resilience theory concepts are used as a backdrop. Substance abuse, specifically alcohol abuse, is the most prevalent psychiatric disorder in the United States, with an estimate in 1992 of 14 million adults who abused or were dependent upon alcohol. The problems of drug and alcohol addiction are worthy of attention as they create concomitant social, economic, and psychological consequences for everyone involved. For example, the collective effects of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs exact greater consequences on the welfare of the American people than any other single preventable factor. The total costs ascribable to addiction are approximated at more than $400 billion every year, including health care costs, low worker productivity, and crime.

Faculty Mentor: Valerie Stewart