Paternal alcoholism and toddler noncompliance

Rina Das Eiden, Kenneth E. Leonard, Sean Morrisey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background: This study examined the effect of fathers' alcoholism and associated risk factors on toddler compliance with parental directives at 18 and 24 months of age. Methods: Participants were 215 families with 12-month-old children, recruited through birth records, who completed assessments of parental substance use, family functioning, and parent-child interactions at 12, 18, and 24 months of child age. Of these families, 96 were in the control group, 89 families were in the father-alcoholic-only group, and 30 families were in the group with two alcohol-problem parents. Child compliance with parents during cleanup situations after free play was measured at 18 and 24 months. The focus of this paper is on four measures of compliance: committed compliance, passive noncompliance, overt resistance, and defiance. Results: Sons of alcohol-problem parents exhibited higher rates of noncompliance compared with sons of nonalcoholic parents. Sons in the two-alcohol-problem parent group seemed to be following a trajectory toward increasing rates of noncompliance. Daughters in the two-alcohol-problem parent group followed an opposite pattern. Other risk factors associated with parental alcohol problems also predicted compliance, but in unexpected ways. Conclusions: Results indicate that early risk for behavioral undercontrol is present in the toddler period among sons of alcoholic fathers, but not among daughters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1621-1633
Number of pages13
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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