Publication Alert

Members of the Child Abuse and Neglect Social Ecological Models Consortium (Bridget Freisthler, Jennifer Price Wolf, and Michelle Johnson-Motoyama) published a study on how drinking contexts is related to different types of supervisory and physical neglect.

Aims. Child neglect is the most common form of child maltreatment, yet little is known about how drinking context may be related to particular subtypes of child neglect. This study examines the relationship between parental drinking in multiple contexts and the use of supervisory and physical neglectful.

Methods. A sample of 2,152 parents of children 12 years or younger in 50 cities in California was obtained using a computer-assisted telephone interview. Past year prevalence of child neglect was measured using the Multidimensional Neglectful Behavior Scale. Information was collected on past month or past year frequency of having at least one drink in five contexts, continued drinking measures (e.g., number of drinks after the first drink), and sociodemographics. Data were analyzed using multilevel random effects logit models.

Results. Frequency of drinking in various contexts was related to different neglect subtypes. Specifically, frequency of drinking with friends was positively related leaving a child home alone when an adult should be present. Parents who drank more frequently with family were less likely to leave their child home alone in the past year yet more likely to unsafely monitor their child in the past year.  Drinking at parties more often was related to being more likely to leave a child alone in a car sometime during the past year.

Conclusions. That no single drinking context is universally problematic for supervisory and physical neglect suggests that different social mechanisms may underlie the relationships observed between different drinking contexts and neglect subtypes.

Freisthler, B., Price Wolf, J., Johnson-Motoyama, M. Understanding the role of context-specific drinking in neglectful parenting behaviors. Available online March 2015, Alcohol and Alcoholism. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agv031