New research shows that about 13% of young people aged 15 to 16 years live in a household with alcohol problems. The study results found that young people in these environments face more problems, including:
- Anxiety or depression,
- Having a worse relationship with their parents, and
- Being bullied at school.
In the study, more girls reported experiences of parental alcohol use problems (15.4%) compared with boys (10.8%).
The researchers used a short version of “The Children of Alcoholics Screening Test” (CAST-6). This instrument asks six questions regarding parental alcohol use. In the sample,
- It was most common to have experienced that a parent consumed too much alcohol (19.9%),
- Followed by having a wish that they stopped consuming alcohol (14.9%), and
- To have encouraged a parent to stop consuming alcohol (13.4%).
12% of the young people reported experiences of arguments or fights related to parental alcohol use and 7.5% had ever felt like hiding or emptying a parent’s bottle of liquor.
New record numbers of children call helplines
BRIS – Children’s Rights in Society – reported a record number of children called their helpline during Christmas time in 2021. Conversations about eating disorders, suicide and self-destruction have increased the most, and in some cases more than doubled, compared with the same period last year, the organization’s compilation shows.
Most people who get in touch have no adult to talk to,” said Magnus Jägerskog, Secretary General of Bris, as per Nyherter.
The first step is to be able to tell, but more is needed, for example from student health.”
Magnus Jägerskog, Secretary General, Bris
Children from households with alcohol problems in Sweden
Another study from 2013, which was based on a web panel, showed that every fifth young person lived in a household with alcohol problems.
Movendi International member organization Junis revealed in their 2020 municipality report that 320,000 children are estimated to grow up in a household with alcohol problems.
- That is 15% of all children in Sweden.
- Out of the municipalities who responded to Junis’ survey, 96% claim they offered support to children who grow up in a household with substance use problems.
- Nevertheless, only 1% or 3,469 children have actually participated in support activities provided by the municipal authorities.
A report by BRIS titled “Was It My Responsibility?“ showed both the short and long-term consequences for children who grow up in households with alcohol problems. In households with alcohol problems the risk for reduced parenting ability is higher. As a result children carry a heavier burden than they should in their household.