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Alcohol, Drug Abuse by Parents Linked to Arthritis in Offspring

Alcohol, Drug Abuse by Parents Linked to Arthritis in OffspringNew research suggests a person is significantly more likely to develop adult arthritis if a parent was addicted to alcohol or drugs.

University of Toronto researchers examined a group of 13,036 adults and found that 20.4 per cent of respondents had been diagnosed with arthritis by a medical professional.

Investigators found that 14.5 percent of all respondents reported having at least one parent whose drug or alcohol use caused problems while were under the age of 18 and still living at home.

As published online in the International Journal of Population Research, results indicate that individuals whose parents were addicted to drugs or alcohol are more likely to have arthritis.

“In fact, after adjusting for age, sex, and race, parental addictions were associated with 58 percent higher odds of arthritis,” said lead author Esme Fuller-Thomson, Ph.D.

“We had anticipated that the adult offspring’s health behaviors such as smoking, obesity, and alcohol consumption might explain the strong link between parental addictions and arthritis, however, we did not find this to be the case,” said study co-author, Jessica Liddycoat, M.S.W.

“Even after adjusting for these adult health behaviors, as well as income, education, a history of childhood maltreatment, and mood and anxiety disorders, we found that parental addictions was still a statistically significant factor associated with 30 percent higher odds of arthritis.”

Future prospective studies are needed because the survey nature of the data makes it impossible to determine whether the relationship between parental addictions and arthritis is causal.

“However, there is ample evidence from other studies to support the provision of efficacious interventions to treat addictions,” said co-author Maria Stefanyk, M.S.W.

“Although we do not know if these interventions will impact the development of arthritis in adulthood, we do know that children do much better on a wide range of outcomes when parents are no longer abusing drugs and alcohol.”

Source: University of Toronto

Alcohol, Drug Abuse by Parents Linked to Arthritis in Offspring

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Alcohol, Drug Abuse by Parents Linked to Arthritis in Offspring. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 20, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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