Teenagers who live with alcoholic fathers or even dads who drink in moderation are more likely to have used drugs or had drinks themselves in the past year, a US study showed Thursday.
Around one in five children aged 12 to 17 whose fathers were teetotalers in the past year had alcoholic beverages themselves, compared with a third of youngsters whose dads drank in moderation, said the study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Among adolescents whose fathers abused alcohol, nearly four in 10 had drinks in the past year, the study showed. Just over 24 percent of these teens also said they used drugs in the past year.
Binge drinking and alcohol abuse among 12- to 17-year-olds increased with the level of paternal alcohol use, according to the study.
Three percent of children who lived with a teetotal father drank abusively in the past year, compared with 4.7 percent whose fathers drank in moderation.
The rate of binge- and other abusive drinking among teens soared to more than 10 percent among kids whose fathers had alcohol use disorders, the study showed.
The percentage of youngsters using illicit drugs in the past year also increased with the level of alcohol use by the father.
Fourteen percent of youngsters who lived with a teetotal father reported using drugs in the past year, while the rate was more than four points higher, at 18.4 percent, among kids whose fathers drank moderately.
SAMHSA acting administrator Eric Broderick urged parents to use Father's Day, which falls on Sunday, to "educate fathers, mothers and other role models about the profound impact their drinking behavior can have on their children."
The vast majority of fathers living with teenagers, 68 percent, used alcohol in moderation. One in 12 had a drinking disorder and around a quarter of fathers were teetotal.
Data for the study were drawn from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which polled 11,056 fathers and 9,537 father-child pairs between 2002 and 2007.
The children who took part in the survey were either biological, step-, adoptive or foster children living with their fathers.