Substance abuse is often considered a contributing factor to the abuse or neglect of children. Conversely, research has shown that child victims of abuse, particularly sexual abuse, often develop substance use problems later in life, perhaps to attempt to escape the unresolved emotional trauma of abuse or neglect.
Childhood Abuse History and Substance Use Among Men and Women Receiving Detoxification Services
Brems, Johnson, Neal, & Freemon
American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 30(4), 2004
Examines the link between childhood victimization and subsequent substance use and psychological adjustment among men and women receiving detoxification services at a large substance abuse treatment center.
Childhood Trauma and Health Outcomes in Adults With Comorbid Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders
Wu, Schairer, Dellor, & Grella
Addictive Behaviors, 35(1), 2010
Evaluates adults who have substance use disorders and mental health problems for a relationship with childhood traumatic events. Results found that those who had greater exposure to traumatic events were more likely to have negative adult outcomes.
Gender Specific Associations Between Types of Childhood Maltreatment and the Onset, Escalation and Severity of Substance Use in Cocaine Dependent Adults
Hyman, Garcia, & Sinha
The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 32, 2006
Relates gender and the type of abuse with substance use behaviors.
Making the Connection: Trauma and Substance Abuse (PDF - 146 KB)
National Child Traumatic Stress Network (2008)
Addresses the link between trauma and substance abuse by citing multiple articles that support the relationship.
The Structure of Problem Behavior in a Sample of Maltreated Youths
Culhane & Taussig
Social Work Research, 33(2), 2009
Examines problem behaviors, including substance use, of youth with history of maltreatment and the relationship between the two.
Symptom Severity, Alcohol Craving, and Age of Trauma Onset in Childhood and Adolescent Trauma Survivors With Comorbid Alcohol Dependence and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Schumacher, Coffey, & Stasiewicz
American Journal on Addictions, 15(6), 2006
Proposes that childhood trauma can make individuals more vulnerable to alcohol dependency.