Comparison of Internalizing Disorders in 8-14-Year-Old Offsprings of Opium and Heroin Dependent Parents: A Case- Control Study

Mahin Eslami Shahrbabaki, Hassan Ziaaddini, Hamdollah Saieedi Gargari, Nouzar Nakhaiee, Parvin Eslami Shahrbabaki, Nasrin Eslami Sharbabaki



Background:In general, parental substance abuse is associated with children's emotional and behavioral problems. This study only investigated the internalizing problems (depression, anxiety and physical complains) in children of opioid or heroin-dependent parents in comparison with non-opioid dependent parents in order to determine the effects of drug dependency after excluding the confounding factors.

Methods:This case-control study compared the internalizing problems of one hundred twenty eight 8 to 14-year-old students in two offspring groups of opioid or heroin-dependent parents (n = 64) and non opioid dependent parents (n = 64). Then we used the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Parents in both groups had no major psychiatric disorders (e.g., personality disorders, mood and anxiety disorders or psychosis), no history of major medical diseases, and no history of divorce. Analysis was performed using chi square or Fisher’s exact test.

Findings:The anxiety/depression subscales in children of non opioid dependent parents were significantly higher in comparison with children of opioid or heroin-dependent parents.

Conclusion:Substance dependence in addition to reducing parental supervision on children may cause lack of knowledge and unawareness of their children's anxiety and mood problems. Considering study limitations, study repetition in larger statistical population is necessary for generalizing the study findings. In order to assess internalizing problems in further studies, usage of behavioral checklists for self-report of children and youth is recommended.

Keywords: Internalizing problem, Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), Opium, Heroin, Opioid


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