Parental use of alcohol and children's behavioural health: A household production analysis

Alison Snow Jones, Deborah J. Miller, David S. Salkever

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This study uses the 1988 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data to examine the effects of both heavy and problem drinking as well as moderate or light parental alcohol use on children's behaviour problems. The analysis is formulated within Becker's household production function framework. The production of child behavioural health is estimated using items from the Behavior Problems Index, a battery of 32 questions about behaviour problems which is derived from the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), a widely-used parent report instrument. Measures of parents' alcohol consumption are constructed from the NHIS Alcohol Supplement that was administered to one randomly selected adult in each household in 1988. Ordinary least squares (OLS) and two-stage least squares (TSLS) results are presented. The results provide consistent evidence that parental alcohol use is an input with negative marginal product in the production of child behavioural health, regardless of which parent drinks. The magnitude of the effect is generally larger in the TSLS specification. There is also strong evidence of relationships between some family structure variables and child behavioural health and between parental physical health and child behavioural health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)661-683
Number of pages23
JournalHealth economics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1999


  • Alcohol
  • Child behaviour
  • Child health
  • Household production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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