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The Impact of Parental Drinking on Children’s Use of Health Care

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  • Ana I. Balsa

    ()

  • Michael T. French

    ()

Abstract

Objective: Alcohol misuse by parents can affect the demand for children’s health care in a number of different ways. The primary objective of this study is to estimate the impact that high-intensity drinkers have on their children’s use of pediatric visits and ER care. Method: We use a nationally representative sample of parents and children from the 2002-2008 National Health Interview Surveys and employ propensity-score methods (PSM). PSM can address some of the limitations associated with multivariate regression models both by using a non-parametric approach that does not rely on functional form assumptions and by statistically selecting a subset of untreated individuals for whom the distribution of covariates is similar to the distribution in the treated group. Our working sample consists of 65,926 pairs of adults and children. Results: We find that alcohol consumption by parents is positively associated with children’s health care utilization in some key areas. We observe a robust effect of paretal high-intensity drinking on the likelihood of a child's visit to the pediatrician and also find some evidence of increases in the number of pediatric visits and ER use. Conclusions: Understanding and quantifying the costs of parental alcoholism on children are critical to the design of treatment interventions and other policies that can improve the well-being of children of alcoholics. While children's insurance coverage and advances in medical treatment receive important attention in the United States, more emphasis should be placed in addressing the determinants of children's health that stem from parents' health-related behavior.

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File URL: http://www.um.edu.uy/docs/working_paper_um_cee_2011_01.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Facultad de Ciencias Empresariales y Economia. Universidad de Montevideo. in its series Documentos de Trabajo/Working Papers with number 1101.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:mnt:wpaper:1101

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Postal: Prudencio de Pena 2440, Montevideo 11600
Web page: http://www.um.edu.uy/cee/
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Related research

Keywords: alcohol misuse; alcohol-related consequences; adolescent health care; children of alcoholics;

References

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  1. Henry Saffer & Dhaval Dave, 2002. "Mental Illness and the Demand for Alcohol, Cocaine and Cigarettes," NBER Working Papers 8699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jacobson, Lena, 2000. "The family as producer of health -- an extended grossman model," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 611-637, September.
  3. A. Smith, Jeffrey & E. Todd, Petra, 2005. "Does matching overcome LaLonde's critique of nonexperimental estimators?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 305-353.
  4. Charles Michalopoulos & Howard S. Bloom & Carolyn J. Hill, 2004. "Can Propensity-Score Methods Match the Findings from a Random Assignment Evaluation of Mandatory Welfare-to-Work Programs?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 156-179, February.
  5. Pinka Chatterji & Sara Markowitz, 2000. "The Impact of Maternal Alcohol and Illicit Drug Use on Children's Behavior Problems: Evidence from the Children of the National Longitudinal Survey..," NBER Working Papers 7692, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Bolin, Kristian & Jacobson, Lena & Lindgren, Bjorn, 2001. "The family as the health producer -- when spouses are Nash-bargainers," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 349-362, May.
  7. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
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