Fathers Who Drink Heavily Report Less Positive Involvement With Their Children

Overview: Fathers who binge are less involved with their children, according to a new study. Treating a father’s heavy drinking can improve family dynamics.

sauce: Alcoholism Study Group

Fathers who admit to binge drinking are less involved with their children, according to new research in several traditionally understudied countries. increase.

In the latest analysis, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Studiesinvestigating paternal binge drinking in relation to parenting quality, and suggest that preventing or treating excessive paternal alcohol use may have wide-ranging benefits for families.

Previous studies around the world have pointed to the harm that parental problematic alcohol use has on family relationships and child development. Paternal alcohol use disorders, depression, and marital satisfaction are known to be important for parenting.

Excessive drinking associated with concepts of masculinity has been linked across cultures to more punitive parenting, child abuse and neglect, and intimate partner violence.

Little is known about how excessive drinking affects father-child relationships, including the degree of engagement. A new study explores the relationship between binge drinking and male involvement with children using a rare dataset covering five low-income Asian countries.

For the first time, this study described the potential impact of fathers’ childhood trauma and attitudes towards gender equality. This is two additional factors previously shown to influence male roles within the family.

Investigators used data from a United Nations survey of 4,562 fathers aged 18 to 49 from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Sri Lanka.

Participants were asked to rate the amount of time spent interacting with their child (e.g., playing or helping with homework), frequency of heavy episodic drinking (6 or more drinks at one time), and experience of abuse as a child. I filled out a questionnaire to evaluate. Attitudes towards gender norms (e.g. women’s roles at home). Researchers used statistical analysis to explore the associations between these factors and others.

Overall, 50% of fathers reported playing or doing things with their children often or very often, and 24% said they often or very often do personal matters. I talked to my child on Gender equality attitudes were generally associated with more engaged parenting. Self-reported binge drinking was most common in Papua New Guinea and Cambodia, also the countries reporting the most traditional gender attitudes, and least common in Indonesia.

Overall, participants who reported heavy drinking reported less involvement with their fathers than those who did not tend to drink heavily. This effect was strongest in Cambodia.

Previous studies around the world have pointed to the harm that parental problematic alcohol use has on family relationships and child development.Image is in public domain

It was not evident in China or Sri Lanka, where gender equality perspectives are associated with increased parental involvement, independently of excessive drinking. In general, older fathers report being more involved in their children’s lives than younger fathers. With the exception of Papua New Guinea, paternal childhood trauma did not affect parenting involvement.

This study adds evidence linking paternal problem alcohol consumption and parenting restrictions and helps build a gendered understanding of binge drinking. , suggesting that there may be increased positive engagement with women and children.

Moreover, gender-transforming interventions that promote father involvement in children may improve a range of family outcomes and reduce male alcohol use. Data sets are limited and associations are complex, which may contribute to the subtlety and heterogeneity of our findings.

Further research investigating alcohol use and parenting is needed, including measures of behavior based on more countries and cultures.

See also

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About this Alcoholism and Family Study News

author: press office
sauce: Alcoholism Study Group
contact: Press Office – Alcoholism Society
image: image is public domain

Original research: open access.
Anne-Marie Laslett et al., “The relationship between paternal heavy drinking and paternity involvement in five countries in the Asia-Pacific region: a meta-analysis of individual participant data.” Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Studies


The Relationship Between Paternal Heavy Drinking and Paternity Involvement in Five Countries in the Asia-Pacific Region: A Meta-Analysis of Individual Participant Data


This study aims to improve our understanding of the relationship between heavy and repetitive drinking (HED) and paternal involvement in parenting in five countries. The potential moderating effects of paternal childhood traumatic experiences have also been studied, controlling for possible confounding effects of HED on paternal attitudes toward gender equality, paternal age, and paternal education.


Using survey data from the United Nations Multilateral Survey on Men and Violence (UNMCS) from 4,562 fathers aged 18–49 years in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Sri Lanka, (e.g., helping children with their homework), and self-reported HED drinking ≥6 at a time vs. non-HED and abstaining from the 13-item paternal childhood trauma (FCT) scale. was tested to mitigate the effects of gender equality, and analyzes were adjusted for gender inequality attitudes using the Gender Equality Male Scale score. Bivariate and adjusted individual participant meta-analyses were used to determine effect estimates for each site and across all sites.


Paternal HED was associated with less active parental involvement after adjusting for gender equity, FCT, age, and education. No global interaction between HED and FCT was identified. Gender equity was associated with father involvement in some countries but not in all (p = 0.07).


Heavy episodic drinking was associated with decreased active father involvement. These findings suggest that interventions to increase father involvement in parenting should include targeting reduction of father-her HED. Structural barriers to paternal involvement should be considered along with HED in future research on paternal involvement in children.

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