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    Drug Abusing Fathers Essay (2081 words)

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    The purpose of this study is to ascertain the affects of drug-abusing fathers onthe drug usage of their young adolescent children. A special targeted populationwere chosen for this study; they are the children of drug-abusing fathers whoare HIV-positive or at risk for becoming HIV-positive. The major factors used todetermine the dependent measure of adolescent marijuana use include certain drugabusing father attributes (i. e. , illegal drug use, HIV status, and methods ofcoping), and adolescent personality which is directly affected by thefather-adolescent relationship and environmental factors (see pathway toadolescent marijuana use). The focus of this paper will be on the influences ofparent-child relationship, fathers marijuana usage and HIV status of thefather on the adolescents marijuana use.

    These chosen domains (i. e. , set ofrelated variables) are a part of the study needed to determine the pattern ofrelationship between father drug use and adolescent drug use. This research isan extension of an earlier study of the psychosocial factors related to theAIDS-risk behaviors and methods of coping among male injection drug users e.

    g. ,1. By focusing on the parental approach, it is hope that this information willallow a father to be a more effective parent and assist him in raising hischildren in a way that they wouldnt need to turn to drugs to cope withlifes difficulties (i. e. , having a drug abusing father that is at risk ofbecoming HIV positive).

    Methods Participants: Participants were male volunteersrecruited from AIDS clinics and methadone maintenance treatment clinics, with ahistory of drug abuse (i. e. , must have engaged in either injection drug use oranother form of illicit drug abuse during the past five years). Only thosevolunteers who agreed to be interviewed along with one of their 13-20-year-oldchildren were recruited for participation. In order to qualify for participationin the study, the men had to be either living with the child or have seen thechild at least four times in the past year (majority of the children live withthe mother).

    A total of one hundred and one father-child pairs participated inthis study; 71 identified themselves as African-American and 27 identifiedthemselves as White (the other three identified themselves as other). All fatherparticipants had used intravenous drugs or illicit drugs (other than marijuanaor in addition to marijuana) by a non-injection route of administration withinthe past five years. Participants that were not considered for this studyinclude those who had AIDS dementia, those who were too sick to participate inthe study, and those who had a major psychiatric disorder (i. e. , bipolardisorder or schizophrenia).

    Each patient voluntarily reported his own HIVstatus. Over 98% of the subjects reports of their HIV status were confirmedby the ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay) and the Western Blot tests. Ofthe 101 father participants, 38% were HIV positive and 62% were HIV negative. Only children who were already aware of their fathers HIV status werequalified to participate in the study. Procedure: After providing informedconsent, each father-child pair was interviewed for approximately four hoursusing a structured questionnaire. The interviewers were either counselors orsocial workers at an AIDS clinic or a methadone maintenance treatment clinic andhad extensive experience working with substance abusers and/or HIV positivepatients.

    Every attempt was made to match the participants and the interviewersin terms of their ethnic backgrounds. The interviews were conducted privatelyand the confidentiality of the data was strictly preserved. Each father-childpair participant was given $50 to compensate for his/her time and expenses. Measures: The scales used in this study were based on their item (question)inter-correlation. These scales were grouped into four domains: Fathersattributes, father-child relationship, adolescents personality, andenvironmental factors.

    The father attributes include his HIV status, illegaldrug use, and methods of coping with HIV or the risk of having HIV. The measureof the fathers illegal drug use was derived from a combined score of thefathers report of his illegal drug use and the childs report of thefathers illegal drug use. It is found in previous studies that by combiningthe parent and childrens responses to measures provides a greaterpredictability than using one source alone. The father-child relationship domaininclude measures of warmth/affection, parenting variables (such as mothersparenting style and fathers parenting style such as rules and discipline),childs identification with both parents (admiration, emulation), father-childconflict, and the amount of time the father and child spent together. Except forthe childs identification with the father scale, which is solely from thechilds scores, all the father-child relationship scales were from a combinedscore of each fathers and his childs questionnaires.

    The adolescentpersonality domain includes intolerance of deviance, rebelliousness,delinquency, aggression, sexual activity, and other measures of problembehavior. These measures were all taken only from the childs self-reports. The last domain, environmental, included measures of school environment,victimization, and gang membership. These measures were also taken only from thereports of the child. Analyses: Pearson correlation coefficients were computedbetween the scales in the two domain chosen (i. e.

    , father attributes andfather-child relationships) and the adolescents past-year marijuana use. Forthe purpose of this paper, I have chosen only the variables from the fatherattributes and father-child relationship domains for the interaction-regressionanalyses. This will allow us to examine the effect of a variable from one domainin the presence of another domain will have on the childs marijuana usage. For all the analyses, the dependent variable was the adolescents frequency ofmarijuana use during the year before the interview. Results Pearson correlationcoefficients were computed to examine the association between the fatherattributes, the father child relationship factors, and the frequency of theadolescents past year marijuana usage. (See table below).

    CorrelationCoefficients between Scale Measures and Frequency of Past Year AdolescentMarijuana Use Scale Measures Adolescent Marijuana Use Father AIDS 0. 07 FatherMarijuana use 0. 25* Father Admiration-Youth -0. 20* Mother Admiration-Youth-0.

    36*** Father Affection-Youth -0. 28** Mother Affection-Youth -0. 29** YouthMother Warmth-Father -0. 22* Youth Father Warmth-Father -0. 18+ Father child-centerness-Youth-0.

    20* Mother child-centerness-Youth -0. 27** Father Conflict-Youth 0. 24* MotherConflict-Youth 0. 26** Youth Father Discipline-Father -0.

    23* Father ExtremeAutonomy-Youth 0. 21* Mother Extreme Autonomy 0. 24* Youth Father ExtremeAutonomy-Father 0. 17+ (Table continues) Correlation Coefficients between ScaleMeasures and Frequency of Past Year Adolescent Marijuana Use Scale MeasuresAdolescent Marijuana Use Father Rules-Youth -0. 25* Mother Rules-Youth -0.

    29**Youth Mother Rules-Father -0. 44*** Youth Father Rules-Father -0. 22* Father TimeSpent-Youth -0. 17+ Mother Time Spent-Youth -0.

    35*** Youth Mother TimeSpent-Father -0. 24* Youth Father Time Spent-Father -0. 22* MotherSimilarity-Youth -0. 33*** Mother Emulation-Youth -0. 37*** Father Emulation-Youth-0.

    20* +p * 0. 1 ; *p * 0. 05 ; **p * 0. 01 ; ***p * 0.

    001. This table consists ofonly the scales significantly related to the adolescent marijuana usage with theexception of father AIDS. From the table above, we see that the greater thefathers marijuana usage the more frequent his child will use marijuana. Aclose parent-child mutual attachment, the more admiration, affection, warmth,and child-centerness the child feel from the parents, the less frequent thechild will use marijuana.

    The greater the conflict is between the parents isassociated with the childs more frequent use of marijuana. In regards toparenting variables, the greater the mother, father extreme autonomy or morelenient, the more frequent the child will use marijuana. It makes sense then tosee that the more discipline the father reinforces, the less likely his childwill use marijuana. Likewise, the greater the reinforcement of the mother,father rules, the less frequent the child will use marijuana. Especially themother rules. It might be because of the fact that majority of the childrenresides with the mothers.

    With that said, we see that the more time the motherspent with the child is strongly related with less frequent adolescent marijuanause and the more time the father spent with the child will also help to reducethe frequency of childs marijuana usage. The same goes to mother similarityand parents emulation with mother having the strongest effect on the reductionof childs marijuana usage. Interactions of Father and Youth Risk-ProtectiveVariables: A series of regression analyses was run in which a variable from onedomain was entered first then a variable from another domain, followed by theinteraction term (e. g. , father AIDS status by one of the parenting variables). Iwill discuss only the significant interactions, p * 0.

    05, since the others willnot provide any important information. In all cases, the dependent variable wasthe past year frequency of adolescent marijuana use. The first set of regressiondone was by taking father AIDS status and interacts with each of the parentingvariables. Although the fathers AIDS status did not emerge as a significantmain effect on the childs marijuana use, it did show significance in thepresence of two other variables.

    The two significant interaction regressionanalyses are: Father AIDS Status by Father Child-centerness and Father AIDSStatus by Time Spent with Mother. In the case that the father does not haveAIDS, the effectiveness of father child-centerness (high or low), would not makea big difference in the adolescent marijuana use. If the father has AIDS and isaccompanied by low father child-centerness, we have a risk/risk interaction andthe adolescent marijuana use is very high. However, if father child-centernessis high, then it buffers some of the risks to the adolescent marijuana use posedby the father having AIDS.

    The same result is shown in the interaction of fatherAIDS status by mother time spent with child. When the father has AIDS, and themother spends little time with the child, then the frequency of child marijuanausage is high, where as it would be buffered by mother spending more time withthe child. The combined presence of these variables as risk/risk interactionswas more strongly associated with frequent marijuana use than each of thesevariables considered alone. The next set of regression was done by interactingthe gender of the child with each of the parenting variables to predict theadolescent marijuana usage.

    The significant ones are: Sex by MotherIdentification, Sex by Father Extreme Autonomy, Sex by Mother Extreme Autonomy,and Sex by Mother Time Spent. In all cases, male child marijuana usage ingreater than female. For both male and female, if the child identified weaklywith the mother, marijuana use for the child increase (male using more thanfemale). The more lenient the father is, the more marijuana use for the malechild is affected.

    Females not affected by as greatly as male. The same goes forlenient mothers. Both male and female are affected by the time spent withmother. The less time mother spent with the children, the more highly used themarijuana with males being affected more than females.

    Another set ofinteraction regression was also conducted to see the effect of the parentingvariables on the adolescent marijuana use differ in the two race studied (blackand white). The significant interactions include ethnicity by father rules andethnicity by fathers time spent with child. If father rules are strong, thenthe adolescent marijuana use in both races will be low. If the father rules areweak, then the adolescent marijuana use is more at risk for white children thanfor black children.

    It is highest for the three children that identifiedthemselves as other for ethnicity. The same result applied to father timespent with child. When the fathers time spent with his child is high, theadolescent marijuana use for both races is low. While fathers time spent withthe child is low is more risky for white children to use more marijuana than forblack children. Finally, father marijuana use is interacted with each of theparenting variables.

    Only mother identification was significant in theinteraction regression with father marijuana use variable. The plot show if thechild is strongly identified with the mother, his/her marijuana use will be lowregardless if the father uses marijuana or not. When the child shows weakidentification with the mother, child marijuana use will increase; more stronglyeffected in the presence of fathers marijuana use. Therefore motheridentification helped buffered the negative effects of the fathers marijuanause risk factor on the childs marijuana use. Discussion The overallinformation suggest that a strong parent-child relationship helped offset thenegative effects of certain risk factors such as father having AIDS and fatherusing marijuana. Specifically, a more affectionate parent-child relationship,characterized by warmth, good discipline, adolescents identification with theparents (mother in particular), and a non-conflict relationship were related toless frequent marijuana use by the child.

    We can then say that fathers whospends a good deal of time with the children were less likely to have kids thatuse drugs. The risk/protective interactive analyses show that white malechildren are more at risk of marijuana use than white females or black childrenprovided that no parenting variable buffers the negative effect. This studystresses the importance of parenting style and parental drug abuse affecting thechilds marijuana usage. Programs should be established to assist the fathersas well as the mothers in their parenting roles to reduce the and possiblyprevent marijuana usage for these children. This is a cross-sectional studywhere both the father and his child are interviewed at the same time.

    Alongitudinal study is being conducted at this time to see how the adolescentmarijuana use would be different over time. We wouldnt have access to thisinformation until it is complete. A larger sample will also be provided.

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