Children of Military Families at Increased Risk for Substance Use

NIAA Spectrum


In a paper published in the journal Addiction, researchers report that children of military families have a higher risk for alcohol and other substance use than do their peers in nonmilitary families. On the basis of their findings, the researchers suggest that schools and health care providers consider parental military deployment as an opportunity to provide early intervention and screening for substance abuse for young people in military families.

The researchers’ data indicated that substance use overall was higher among those in the currently deployed or recently returned groups than in the nonmilitary group. Deployment often means that children were not living with a parent—which is itself a risk factor for substance use. They found that “substance use was accentuated by the disrupted living arrangements, with the largest effect seen in children with a deployed parent who were not living with a parent or relative.”

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