It is estimated that one out of eight Americans is an adult child of an alcoholic. College students who are the children of alcoholics have been shown to be at an increased risk for depression and alcohol abuse, have lower self-esteem and have a greater risk of dropping out than other students. However, there has not been a huge amount of research into this issue and Professor J. Camille Hall from the University of Tennessee studied 100 African American college students in an attempt to find out more. Half were the children of alcoholics and half had parents without a drink problem and within the two groups there was an even split of men and women. The study found less difference between the two groups than expected with the children of alcoholics not struggling with social or behavioural problems. The children of alcoholics actually drank significantly less alcohol than the other students although the children of non-alcoholics, not surprisingly perhaps, reported having healthier families during their childhood.
Hall, J. - Childhood perceptions of family, social support, parental alcoholism, and later alcohol use among African American college students. Journal of Substance Use, June 2010, 15(3), 157-165