Psychological Characteristics of Children of Alcoholics
By KENNETH J. SHER, PH.D.
More than 20 years ago, researchers first noted that children of alcoholics (COA’s) appeared to be affected by a variety of problems over the course of their life span.
Such problems include;
fetal alcohol syndrome, which is first manifested in infancy;
emotional problems and hyperactivity in childhood;
emotional problems and conduct problems in adolescence; and
the development of alcoholism in adulthood.
Although much has been learned over the ensuing two decades, a number of controversial research areas remain. In particular, debate stems from the fact that despite a common interest in COA’s, clinically focused literature and research-focused literature have resulted in two distinct bodies of knowledge. This article reviews important research results, with emphasis on findings generated by the alcohol-research community. Attention also is given to examining the empirical validity of concepts that have been advanced by several influential clinicians from the COA field.
ALCOHOL HEALTH & RESEARCH WORLD, VOL. 21, NO. 3, 1997