Telescoped Trajectories From Alcohol Initiation to Disorder in Children of Alcoholic Parents

Andrea Hussong, Daniel Bauer, Laurie Chassin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


The current study tested whether and why children of alcoholics (COAs) showed telescoped (adolescent) drinking initiation-to-disorder trajectories as compared with non-COAs. Using longitudinal data from a community-based sample, the authors confirmed through survival analyses that COAs progressed more quickly from initial adolescent alcohol use to the onset of disorder than do matched controls. Similar risks for telescoping were evident in COAs whose parents were actively symptomatic versus those whose parents had been previously diagnosed. Stronger telescoping effects were observed for COAs whose parents showed comorbidity for either depression or antisocial personality disorder. Both greater externalizing symptoms and more frequent, heavier drinking patterns at initiation failed to explain COAs' risk for telescoping, although externalizing symptoms were a unique predictor of telescoping. This risk for telescoping was also evident for drug disorders. These findings characterize a risky course of drinking in COAs and raise important questions concerning the underlying mechanisms and consequences of telescoping in COAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-78
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • alcohol
  • children of alcoholics
  • telescoping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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