PRC Projects

Center Grant

Bridget Freisthler

Current research suggests that a relationship exists between alcohol use and child maltreatment. To date, however, there is less information about how much of maltreatment occurs when a parent has been drinking. There is also little information about how types of alcohol environments (for example, bars and restaurants in the area) and the way parents spend their time in them affect parenting behavior.

This study is designed to:

  1. Investigate whether or not parents are more likely to use abusive or neglectful parenting techniques when they have been drinking;
  2. Determine if the number and types of places where parents spend time affects the impact of the density of alcohol outlets on maladaptive parenting;
  3. Examine how changes in the places where parents spend time affects the use of outlets and drinking venues, controlling for other known correlates of maladaptive parenting;
  4. Examine how characteristics of social support networks (location to parent, drinking behavior, frequency of contact) moderate drinking behaviors and exposure to alcohol environments to affect maladaptive parenting.

Sixty semi-structured ethnographic interviews allow us to determine where parents spend time regularly, where they tend to drink, and the nature of their social supports. This information will aid in the development of survey questions on these topics. Two waves (Years 2 and 4) of telephone and web survey data collection with 2,100 parents of children (birth to10 years) sampled throughout 30 communities across the state of California will provide information about maladaptive parenting, alcohol use, activity spaces, and drinking locations and contexts.

The short term goal of the study is to determine where, when, and with whom parents tend to drink. This will aid in the design of prevention programs and messages aimed at reducing child maltreatment due to alcohol use. These findings can be tailored to environmentally-based prevention activities at locations where populations at high risk for using maladaptive parenting practices may spend time and among groups of individuals who may support maladaptive parenting. The long-term goal of this project is to develop policies and prevention programs that will reduce problems related to drinking venues.