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The methamphetamine home: psychological impact on preschoolers in rural Tennessee

The methamphetamine home: psychological impact on preschoolers in rural Tennessee

Journal of Rural Health 24(3): 229-235

A growing number of children reside with methamphetamine-abusing parents in homes where the illicit drug is produced. Yet, the effects of a methamphetamine environment on psychological child outcome are still unknown. To examine whether preschoolers who lived in methamphetamine-producing homes are at increased risk for developing psychological problems. The participants were 58 white children between the ages of 4 and 5 years; 31 with a history of living in methamphetamine-producing homes and 27 children who live in non-methamphetamine producing homes in rural Tennessee. The groups were similar in age, gender, and socioeconomic background. The groups were compared for behavioral and emotional adjustment using the behavior assessment system for children-parent rating scale-preschool (BASC-PRS-P) form. Biological or custodian parents completed a rating on their preschoolers that provided information about the children's pattern of behavior and feelings. Preschoolers from the methamphetamine-producing homes showed more externalizing problems than their peers, but were comparable on internalizing problems. On specific behaviors, the data indicate that preschoolers in the methamphetamine group showed higher aggression symptoms than their peers from non-methamphetamine-producing homes. These findings, if replicated, point to the need for mental health screening when a child is removed from a methamphetamine-producing home.

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Accession: 056406215

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 18643799

DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-0361.2008.00163.x

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