Adult children of alcoholic mothers face health risks, say researchers.
Researchers led by Rosa Alati from University of Queensland's School of Population Health tracked alcohol-related disorders of children through adulthood as part of one of the world's longest health studies, reports science portal EurekAlert.
They studied 2,551 Brisbane mothers and their children at six months, five years, 14 and 21 years of age.
Alati said they found teenage children of mothers who drank one or more drinks a day had a twofold risk of problem drinking in young adulthood. They were likely to develop drinking problems if their mothers are depressed and drink regularly.
Alati said maternal depression and early teenage behaviour, such as aggression and delinquency, increased the risk of alcohol disorders in young adults.
"The good news is that there is no need to intervene at a very early age to prevent alcohol problems later on," Alati said.
However the study found that birth outcomes, infant and early childhood influences were not strong predictors of alcohol problems.
"In our sample, individual and maternal influences in this period are the strongest predictors of alcohol disorders in early adulthood," she said.
"The other finding is that there's no indication that there are very early signs of alcohol problems, which is good news."
Public health prevention and intervention strategies for responsible drinking should aim to intervene during late childhood and early adolescence, said the researcher.
"Public health interventions will need to raise parents' awareness of the risks associated with easy availability of alcohol in the family context during early adolescence if we are able to reduce the high rates of alcohol misuse," she said.