Funder: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Project period: 02/01/1995 - 01/31/2002
Grant Type: Research
This application proposed a five year study of black children ages 8-17 at high and low risk for alcohol-related problems based on a history of parental alcoholism. A prospective design will be used to study the stability of parental and child disorders and characterize the role of salient risk and protective processes involved in the developmental pathways to alcoholism. The major goals of the study are: 1. to examine the prevalence and patterns of psychopathology and substance use/abuse among the offspring of black alcoholic and nonalcoholic parents; 2. to compare our previous findings regarding the association of alcoholism and psychopathology, including anxiety disorders and behavioral problems, from Caucasians to African-Americans; 3. to identify individual, familial and environmental risk factors, protective indices, and their interactions in the pathogenesis of alcohol problems in black youth in order to integrate evidence in identifying the key targets of prevention and intervention; and 4. to establish a cohort of youngsters of black alcoholic and nonalcoholic parents to examine the stability of psychopathology and substance abuse, to investigate the progression from sub-threshold manifestations to clinically significant behavioral and emotional disorders, and to evaluate the directionality of the associations between risk and protective factors and the development of substance abuse. The key features of the proposed study are: the sample of black alcohol abusers with young children about whom there are sparse data; the epidemiologic source of the sample, which strengthens the generalizability of the findings and minimizes the bias in ascertainment of minorities from specialty treatment settings; the application of an epidemiologic family study paradigm, which permits assessment of factors associated with familial transmission of risk factors and the mechanisms thereof; evaluation of the role of comorbidity of alcoholism with anxiety and behavioral disorders in the transmission of alcohol problems; comprehensive assessment of vulnerability factors from broad domains of risk encompassing individual, family, and environmental attributes including community violence; the provision of knowledge essential for prevention through the assessment of protective factors which may inhibit pathogenic processes among children at high risk; establishment of a cohort of high risk youngsters for future research; and the availability of comparative data from out previous studies of caucasian alcohol abusers and their offspring.