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Serious mental illness among parents: Implications for adolescent substance use

Mindy Herman-Stahl, PhD1, Rebecca Sanchez, PhD2, Michael Penne, MPH3, David Weitzenkamp, PhD3, Karl Bauman, PhD1, Eric Grau, PhD3, Olivia Silber Ashley, DrPH1, and Joseph Gfroerer, BA4. (1) Health, Social, and Economics Research, RTI International, PO Box 12194, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, (919) 485-7703, mindy@rti.org, (2) Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, 1516 East Franklin Street, Suite 200, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, (3) Statistics Research Division, RTI International, P.O. Box 12194, 3040 Cornwallis Road, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2194, (4) Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 5600 Fisher's Lane, Room 16-105, Rockville, MD 20857

Parental mental illness has been linked with adverse outcomes for adolescents, but few studies have considered effects on adolescent substance use or abuse. This presentation examines relations between parental serious mental illness (SMI) and substance use among adolescents, as well as mediators and moderators of this relation. Data are from a nationally representative sample of 7,800 parents interviewed along with their adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the combined 2002 and 2003 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), a survey of the U.S. civilian, non-institutionalized population aged 12 or older. The NSDUH assessed past year SMI using the six-item K6 screening scale, which has been shown to be predictive of DSM-IV diagnoses of psychiatric disorders. Analyses were stratified by parent gender, and multivariate models predicting adolescent substance use were developed, controlling for parental substance use. Preliminary results indicate that lifetime, past year, and past month use of alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drugs is higher among adolescents living with a mother who has experienced SMI during the past year than among adolescents living with a mother who has not experienced SMI during this time period. Ongoing analyses assess the association between fathersí SMI and adolescent substance use. Mediation analyses address the role of parental involvement and marital conflict. Moderation analyses address the role of adolescent gender and contextual characteristics. Preliminary findings suggest a significant association between parental SMI and adolescent substance use. Final results can be generalized to the U.S. population of adolescents living with a parent.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Substance Abuse, Mental Illness

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Co-morbidity and Treatment Effectiveness Poster Session

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA