Alcoholism: the Effects of Drinking on an Offspring’s Cognitive Development

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Alcoholism:
The Effects of Drinking on an
Offspring’s Cognitive Development


In the article “A conceptual model for the development of externalizing behavior problems among kindergarten children of alcoholic families: Role of parenting and children's self-regulation”, Eiden, Edwards and Leonard (2007) conducted a study on the effects having an alcoholic parent on a child’s behavioral development. They examined the behavior of children from the age of 12 months through development into kindergarden resulting from an alcoholic parents influence. Eiden, Edwards and Leonard (2007) compared behavior between children who came from an alcoholic family background, to those who were not exposed to alcoholic situations. The main research question posed by the team was a hypothesis that alcoholic family situations cause children to exhibit problematic behaviors such as issues with Effortful Control3 as well as depression. Eiden, Edwards and Leonard (2007) had children participate in a study where the child was told not to play with a certain toy before their parent was removed from then room. Once the parent was removed, an unfamiliar face entered and played with the toy, and then left the child alone in the room for 8 minutes.

In this article Eiden et al (2007) studied two separate groups of children from the “average” population of Erie County in New York State. One group was of families consisting of parents who had no or few current alcohol problems, while the other group contained families where one parent suffered from an alcohol problem. They found a direct connection between a higher amount of negative behavior developing in children with a parent who had alcoholic tendencies, specifically an alcoholic father. This research was important because it was one of the first to investigate the correlation between alcoholic parents and children’s behavioral development from infancy, where most studies focused on early adolescence and follow the development of an older child. The research preformed by Eiden et al (2007) adds to existing studies because it sheds light on development of infant tendencies, which ultimately effects the development of an adolescent. By using a small population of children only born in Erie County New York, the researchers limited their research findings. This led to a gap in information from other areas of the country/world, which marks the information for a general population less accurate. They were not able to make an accurate conclusion on the relationship associated with alcoholic mothers and the development of an infant, because their research limited the population to exclude mother who drank in excess during pregnancy. One area of interest that was missing from this article was the correlation between temperament and living with an alcoholic family. This would be helpful in future studies because childhood aggression is one of the most studied topics in the development field. If the researchers were to add an emphasis on temperament observation, then the study would be able to be related and compared to many other studies that have been previously done. I agree with the findings and the completion of this study because more emphasis and observation needs to be put on the infancy of a child, and how events experienced during that time can effect the child’s emotional/psychological development. Overall, this research article was a step in the right direction and a good starting point for further study.

On a related note, in the article “Family communication patterns, family environment, and the impact of parental alcoholism on offspring self-esteem”, Rangarajan and Kelly (2004) studied the effects that parental alcoholism has on the self-esteem of adults and older children. The researchers focused on adults and older children with a medium age of 35 years old. Rangarajan et al. (2004) wanted to investigate the theory of a correlation between growing up in a family where there was an...
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