Debrielle T. Jacques, PhD

Assistant Professor | Clinical Child Psychology | University of Washington

Maternal Alcohol Dependence & the Intergenerational Transmission of Socio-Cognitive Deficits

 Alcohol dependence has long-term negative effects on cognitive functioning, such as memory and problem solving. Recent studies show that women may be differentially susceptible to the cognitive consequences of alcohol dependence. When taken together, mothers struggling with alcohol dependence may exhibit difficulties and challenges navigating cognitively demanding situations, including situations in which they are helping their children gain and hone their cognitive skills. Interestingly, no studies to our knowledge have examined how alcohol-dependent mothers engage with their children during cognitive tasks (e.g. problem-solving tasks), what strategies or tools they use to help their children's cognitive development (positive behaviors such as scaffolding and autonomy encouragement or undermining behaviors such as harshness or disengagement). Furthermore, few studies have examined socio-cognitive functioning and long-term cognitive development among children of alcohol-dependent mothers. Thus, this project aims to clarify associations between maternal alcohol dependence, parenting, cognitive functioning, and children's cognitive development across early childhood.