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(p. 126) Early Origins of Alcohol Use and Abuse: Mental Representations, Relationships, and the Challenge of Assessing the Risk–Resilience Continuum Very Early in the Life of the Child 

(p. 126) Early Origins of Alcohol Use and Abuse: Mental Representations, Relationships, and the Challenge of Assessing the Risk–Resilience Continuum Very Early in the Life of the Child
Chapter:
(p. 126) Early Origins of Alcohol Use and Abuse: Mental Representations, Relationships, and the Challenge of Assessing the Risk–Resilience Continuum Very Early in the Life of the Child
Author(s):

Hiram E. Fitzgerald

, Maria M. Wong

, and Robert A. Zucker

DOI:
10.1093/med:psych/9780199743100.003.0007
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date: 22 May 2018

This chapter examines the early origins of alcohol use and abuse, with particular emphasis on mental representations and relationships as well as the challenge of assessing the risk-resilience continuum very early in the life of the child. It first reviews evidence suggesting early dysregulatory functioning of children of alcoholics exposed to paternal alcoholism, along with evidence about children’s mental representations of alcohol use and how these early expectancies for alcohol use relate to various developmental processes that organize mental representations of self, others, and self-other relationships. It then considers the influence of temperament, dyadic relationships, and the child’s expanding social network on internal resilience that may enable some children to ward off the negative effects associated with parental alcoholism, comorbid psychopathology, and conflictual relationship dynamics. Finally, the chapter describes the problems involved in conducting research with high-risk families that are dysfunctional and where there is parental substance abuse, comorbid psychopathology, and high interpersonal conflict.

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