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Zhai, Zu Wei (2015) THE ROLE OF ATTACHMENT TO PARENTS IN THE ETIOLOGY OF SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is a major public health problem costing over 500 billion dollars annually. An estimated 24.6 million Americans over age 12 were illicit drug users. 21.5 million are classified with dependence or abuse of alcohol and/or illicit drugs. Despite research efforts, the understanding of SUD etiology is still limited. Much research shows that SUD runs in families due to genetic and environmental contributions. Low attachment to parents, consequent to the chronic effects of parental SUD, may underlie the association between parents' and offspring's SUD. To date, limited research has been conducted to determine whether parent-child attachment bears on the relationship between SUD in parents and SUD risk in offspring. The aim of the current study was to determine the role of attachment to parents in the mechanism by which SUD in parents contributes to SUD risk in children. It was hypothesized that (1) parents' substance use severity, among other SUD related variables, most consistently predicted substance involvement (substance use and SUD severity) in sons; (2) attachment to parents was associated with sons' substance involvement, after accounting for parental substance use severity; (3) attachment to parents mediated and moderated the association between parents' and sons' substance use severity. Linear regression analysis determined that parental substance use severity was the most consistent predictor of sons' substance involvement. Structural equation modeling showed that parental substance use severity mediated the association between parental SUD severity and sons' substance use severity. After controlling for parental substance use severity and supervision, attachment to parents explained additional variance in sons' substance involvement, and was associated with the onset rates of cannabis initiation, regular use, and problems with use. Structural equation modeling showed that attachment to fathers' mediated the relationship between fathers' and sons' substance use severity, which leads to sons' SUD. No significant moderation effects were found for attachment to parents. Attachment to parents also predicted illicit substance use at age 16. This study establishes that parent-child attachment is an integral factor in SUD etiology. Attachment based assessment and prevention tools may potentially improve clinical outcomes.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Zhai, Zu Weizuz2@pitt.eduZUZ2
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTarter, REtarter@pitt.eduTARTER
Committee MemberRidenour,
Committee MemberClark, DBclarkdb@upmc.eduDBC2
Committee MemberPoloyac, SMpoloyac@pitt.eduPOLOYAC
Committee MemberVanyukov, MMmmv@pitt.eduMMV
Date: 26 March 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 24 February 2015
Approval Date: 26 March 2015
Submission Date: 20 March 2015
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 148
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Pharmacy > Pharmaceutical Sciences
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Parent-Child Attachment, Attachment Security, Parental Supervision, Parenting, Substance Use, Substance Use Disorder, Etiology, Mediation, Moderation, Path analysis, Structural equation modeling, Factor analysis, Stress, Anxiety.
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2015 12:14
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:42


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