More than one in 10 U.S. children live with an alcoholic parent and are at increased risk of developing a host of health problems of their own, according to a new government study released on Thursday.
Researchers at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) analyzed national survey data from 2005 through 2010 and found that, on average, 7.5 million children — about 10.5 percent of the country’s under-18 population — lived with a parent abusing alcohol during any given year.
Most of those kids — an average of 6.1 million each year — lived in two-parent households where one or both of the adults had a drinking disorder, the researchers found.
Of the 1.4 million children who lived in a single-parent home where the adult had a drinking issue, the overwhelming majority — 1.1 million — were in female-headed households, SAMHSA said.
The researchers said children living with alcoholics were at greater risk of suffering from a number of mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.
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The children were also more likely to be abused or neglected by their parents, more likely to have cognitive or language deficiencies, and four times more likely to develop alcohol problems of their own, the researchers said.