Associations Between Past Incidents of Child Abuse and Problematic Drinking and Risky Behavior

Evelyn Harrison, Irina Makarevitch, Department of Psychology, Hamline University, 1536 Hewitt Ave, St Paul, MN 55104

Research suggests that early or frequent child abuse, problematic drinking habits, and
risky behavior incidences are all related. Past evidence highlights that these behaviors can be a
way to reduce distress and handle trauma. Research also shows that along with these behaviors,
abuse survivors deal with higher rates of mental health issues, lower physical health, and
substance abuse. For my research, I focused on victims of various types of childhood abuse and
studied to what extent alcohol and risky behavior played a part in their lives later on. Besides
wanting to add to this body of work, I also wanted to test whether different factors such as age or
type of abuse would affect how frequently these behaviors occurred. I used The National
Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health Wave 4 data to run various statistical tests to
access significance between variables related to different types of abuse, drinking habits, and
risky behavior patterns. When examining the association between age of first alcoholic drink and
the frequency of verbal abuse, an ANOVA test revealed that among adolescents, the frequency of
verbal abuse was closely tied to how early they would start drinking. I also found that among
adolescents, those who were abused earlier in their lives were more likely to engage in risky
behavior than people who reported later abuse. My goal for this research is to help educate
people on the correlation between abuse and these other factors in order to provide support and
intervention to those who need it. I also want to raise awareness of this issue so behavior patterns
can be both noticed earlier and destigmatized so people can focus on the healing process rather
than judgement. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Evelyn Harrison

Institution: Hamline University

Type: Poster

Subject: Psychology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 10
Date/Time: Wed 1:30pm-2:30pm
Session Number: 6627