Parent alcoholism and the leaving home transition

Andrea M. Hussong, Laurie Chassin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Although they have received little empirical attention, departures from the parental home play a significant role in demarcating the transition from adolescence to young adulthood. The current study examined the extent to which various features of young adults' experiences of leaving home differed for children of alcoholic (COAs) versus nonalcoholic parents, what adolescent precursors might account for noted differences and what indicators of young adult adjustment are related to the leaving home experience. A total of 227 young adults drawn from a high-risk, community sample of COAs and matched controls were interviewed at ages 18-23 years regarding their prior leaving home experiences. COAs showed greater difficulties in negotiating this transition, fewer positive feelings about the transition, and different reasons for leaving home as compared to participants without an alcoholic parent. Moreover, adolescent risk behaviors, family conflict, and family disorganization (assessed prior to this transition) each partly accounted for COAs' risk for difficulty in the leaving home transition. Although certain aspects of the leaving home transition were uniquely related to young adult adjustment, future research is still needed to more comprehensively understand the implications for young adult development associated with such individual differences in the leaving home transition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-157
Number of pages19
JournalDevelopment and psychopathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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