The effects of parental opioid use on the parent-child relationship and children’s developmental and behavioral outcomes: a systematic review of published reports

Magdalena Romanowicz, Jennifer L. Vande Voort, Julia Shekunov, Tyler S. Oesterle, Nuria J. Thusius, Teresa Anne Rummans, Paul E. Croarkin, Victor M. Karpyak, Brian A. Lynch, Kate D Schak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Between 2009 and 2014, nearly 3% of US children (age ≤ 17 years) lived in households with at least 1 parent with substance use disorder. The present systematic review aimed to evaluate effects of parental opioid use disorder on the parent-child relationship and child developmental and behavioral outcomes. Methods: Several databases were comprehensively searched for studies published from January 1980 through February 2018 that reviewed effects of parental opioid addiction on parent-child relationships and outcomes of children (age, 0-16 years). Results: Of 304 unique studies, 12 evaluated effects of parental opioid addiction on the parent-child relationship as the primary outcome and on children’s outcomes, including behaviors and development. Observation of mother-child interaction showed that mothers with opioid use disorders are more irritable, ambivalent, and disinterested while showing greater difficulty interpreting children’s cues compared with the control group. Children of parents with opioid use disorders showed greater disorganized attachment; they were less likely to seek contact and more avoidant than children in the control group. The children also had increased risk of emotional and behavioral issues, poor academic performance, and poor social skills. Younger children had increased risk of abuse or neglect, or both, that later in life may lead to such difficulties as unemployment, legal issues, and substance abuse. Conclusions: Current evidence shows association between parental opioid addiction and poorer mother-child attachment and suboptimal child developmental and behavioral outcomes. Further research and treatment targeting children and families with parental opioid use are needed to prevent difficulties later in life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5
JournalChild and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 12 2019

Keywords

  • Attachment
  • Child outcomes
  • Opioid use
  • Parent-child relationship
  • Substance use disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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