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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 112-116

Externalizing behavior and impulsivity in the children of alcoholics: A case-control study

1 Department of Psychiatry, JIPMER, Puducherry, India
2 Department of Psychiatry and NDDTC, AIIMS, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Pediatrics, JIPMER, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Shivanand Kattimani
Department of Psychiatry, JIPMER, Puducherry - 605 006
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-8990.193430

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Context: Reduced behavioural inhibition, characterized by impulsivity and disruptive behaviour disorders, has been identified as a developmental precursor of alcoholism with a considerable genetic component. Aims: The present study aimed to assess whether children of fathers with alcohol dependence have high impulsivity and externalizing behaviours. Setting and Design: Observational case-control study, done in a tertiary care teaching hospital of Southern India. Materials and Methods: The present case-control study recruited 50 children aged 7 to 14 years of fathers with alcohol dependence and 50 age- and gender-matched children of fathers without alcohol dependence. The two groups were compared using the DSM-IV-TR criteria for ADHD, the Barratt Impulsivity Scale (BIS) and the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL). Statistical Analysis Used: Descriptive statistics used to summarise the study findings. Cases and controls were compared on BIS and CBCL scores using a general linear model (GLM). All analyses were two tailed and test P value <0.05 was considered significant. Results: The children of fathers with alcohol dependence were more likely to meet criteria for ADHD (30% versus 10%, χ2 = 6.250, P = 0.012). After controlling for age and gender, impulsivity scores on the BIS tended to be higher in the cases (F = 2.410, P = 0.055) than controls, mainly in the non-planning domains (F = 3.650, P = 0.008). Similarly, externalizing behaviours on CBCL were more common in the cases than controls (F = 2.817, P = 0.029). Conclusions: Children of fathers with alcohol dependence had greater impulsivity and externalizing behaviours. This may represent a behavioural phenotype as well as a potential target for early intervention.

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