This is a research project focusing on the secondary analysis of media reports on the impacts of parental alcohol misuse on children.
Search terms ”father alcohol” ” mother alcohol” ”alcohol effects on children’s health” ”alcohol effects on child development”, ”alcohol and children’s brains” ”alcohol and parents” ” gender alcohol and culture” ”alcohol and family history” will be entered to identify relevant newspaper articles.
EBSCOhost, Faktiva, Google News and Trove will be accessed to identify relevant news media reports.
A total of 21 sources were found relevant to the study and included websites by organisations and individuals, newspapers and online news publications. The sources were appraised by the researcher by skimmimg through them to identify the themes explored , and the appeals to ethics, and reduced them to 15. The year of publication was also considered and the researcher favored news reports published from 2015 because they were found to address the research question in a good way.
In order to be included, media reports have to be published between 2015 and 2017 by a conventional media outlet, relevant to the research question, published in English, sources were also included if they were less general and addressed the research question in a specific way, publications that are based on the national context of the research question and written by authors whose credentials could be verified were also included, the researcher also included media reports whose references were scholarly in nature.
Relevant data from news reports will be extracted using a spreadsheet with the following analytical categories: parental alcohol use, impacts on children, media on alcohol sales, media on alcohol legislation, apportioning of guilt .
Relevant data derived from this study will be stored using google cloud storage.
Content and frame analysis of media articles will be employed to analyse the research topic.
Content analysis is an unobtrusive or non-reactive social research method, it is appropriate for drawing inferences and conclusions on news media reports relevant to the research topic (Kerlinger, 1973, Nachmias and Nachmias , 1976).
Frame analysis is appropriate to this research work because it describes and interprets news media reports on the research topic in a particular setting ( Ritchie & Spencer,1994).
Content analysis will be used to detect the presence of propaganda, identify media intentions, how various newsmedia apportions blame and describe soceital behavioral responses to media publications on the research topic.
Below is a table (Table 1) that will be used to summarise the number of times a media report apportioned blame to parents using quantitative method in content analysis.
Table 1: Data on media apportioning of parental blame.
|Media sources||Blame on fathers||Blame on mothers||Blames on both parents|
|7||Web pages/online news|
Frame analysis will be used to analyse how the Australian news media frames (positive or negative) the sociocultural impacts of parental alcohol misuse on children within contexts such as family history or background, gender, race, ethnicity and religious inclinations ( i.e what part of the story the news media choose to represent to the general public in relation to the roles and influence of the sociocultural issues to the research question.
Significance of the research
This research proposal explores the impact of parental alcohol and drug misuse on children’s general wellbeing and development. It calls for media representation on the rights of children to grow up in a violence free environment. Articles 33,34 and 36 of the UN convention clearly states that children should be protected from the use of harmful drugs and being involved in the trade, protected from all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse and any other activity that may take advantage or harm a child’s welfare and development [REFERENCE]. Parents with alcohol and substance misuse problems often experience social isolation, dysfunctional family, food, housing and financial insecurity. These conditions deteriorates to lower levels of parental guidiance or absent of parental control and monitoring, inefficient control of a child’s behaviour and poor skills of discipline. In collection, these factors are seen to be contributory to child maltreatment. Families have a responsibility of understanding the impact of alcohol and drug misuse on children.
This research proposal identified that parents are relevant models for their children’s alcohol problems. According to lyter & lyter (2003) , a parent who use alcohol and drugs often raise children who also use alcohol and drugs. Further they state that in partnerships, the non drug using part will often end up using or becoming co-dependent.
This is why this has been deemed an important line of investigation. However, the opposite can also be the case that the substance use of parents can serve as a negative example assisting offspring to avoid substance use [REFERENCE].
This research proposal highlights the impacts of alcohol misuse on the roles of parents or caregivers as proportional to the impact of alcohol on children at different developmental stages.
Substance exposure begins prenatally for many infants, a nationally representative sample of infants reports that in 2012, an approximate 22000 infants were diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome(Patrick et al).
Alcohol and substance abuse has been linked to a broad range of psysiological effects. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy, especially at harmful levels, is linked with compromised intellectual and physical developmental conditions for younger children and infants such as learning disabilities (Baker & Heller 1996; Hans et al .1999).
The link between alcohol consumption and Foetal Alcohol Syndrone (FAS) has been identified as a health concern in the health science and medical literature (Payne et al 2005). Reports from the Australian self-report data suggests 5.8% of pregnant women drink at a range associated with FAS (National Alcohol Strategy Occational Paper 2003) and 5.8% of breastfeeding mothers self reported consuming alcohol at same level as before becoming pregnant, these findings are evidence to the negative impact of mother alcoholic on the children.
Many children of alcoholics are confronted with many negative life situations that may lead to negative outcomes. Some of these children may replicate their parents’ social disadvantage. In a sense, there are accumulations of disadvantages as negative events increase and becomes cyclical over time (Dawe et al., 2007 p.xvi).
The New South Wales Department of Community Services reported 80% of child neglect & abuse cases were associated with alcohol/drug misuse (Department of Community Services, 2002). Similar concerns have been noted by the Department of family and children’s services in western Australia with almost 50% of families that are being considered for ‘family reunification’ presenting with alcohol and drug misuse concerns. This statistical reports further explains the devastating impacts of parental alcohol and substance misuse on children’s right in accordance with article 9 of UN convention on the rights of a child which states that children should not be seperated from their parents except it is for their own good.
Media representation in this research proposal is relevant as it examines the connection that exists between parental alcohol and substance misuse and its contributory effects on child maltreatment, abuse and neglect.
Drug endangered children are vulnerable to emotional and physical harm, a consequence of their parents’s substance misuse , children are also vulnerable when parent’s substance use interferes with their ability to implement basic parenting skills aimed at providing safe and condusive environment for the children. Furthermore, media represention of the impact of parental alcohol and drug misuse on children is relevant because it is a suitable subject for research purpose in order to identify the key sociocultural issues( family history, gender, race, ethnicity,religion) and redress the needs with implications for social work discipline.
Analysis on the media representation of the research question is relevant for making inferences by systematically and objectively reviewing the sociocultural characteristics within this paper’s context (Stone, Dumphy, Smith & Ogilvie, 1996, with credit given to Holsti, P.5). Further relevance of media analysis is to measure the amount of portrayals (media apportioning of blame to father and mother) in a representative sampling of some mass-mediated popular form of art (Berger, 1991; p. 25).
Importance to social work practice
Media representations are the primary source of informations for many people ( Hutson and liddiard 1994). Maley (2000:37) noted that: “ In cultural and social matters, the various media create the platforms of debate, and their choices of subjects, participants and views shape the agenda and to large extent the content.”
Based on current arguments, issues relating alcohol and substance misuse to child neglect and abuse is not excempted. Every knowledge derived from the problem of child abuse has been a subject of media arguments about definations to be used, the incidence linked to the problem, causes, perpetrators, effects on victims, suitable practice approaches , efficacy of child protection policies and the appropriateness of methods employed to ascertain the truth about all of the above.
Media representions on the harmful effects of alcohol and illicit drugs are important factors in child abuse, neglect, entry to care and death of children (NSW Ombudsman 2013). Alcohol and substance abuse is a very common issue that influences descisions in child protection cases. In some Australian territories, almost half of substantiated cases of neglect and abuse involves substance abuse ( Bortoli, Coles et al. 2012 p.4). The wellbeing and safety of children can be at risk . The NSW Ombudsman Reviewable Deaths 2010-2011 found that: The most common issue of concern identified in families where a child is lost in circumstances of large neglect was parental drug and alcohol abuse.(Abstract).
The gap to be addressed
There have been a few media representation on key issues affecting parental alcohol and substance misuse on children in Australia. However, a little explored the physiological effects of these impacts on children’s development. A previous review of the literature has found similar emphasis on mother’s alcohol use and limited research about the effect of parental alcohol abuse for children ( Laxley et al . 2004 ).
The National Drug Strategy 2010-2015, Commonwealth of Australia has a provision that contains a comprehensive framework that is aimed towards the reduction of drug use and alcohol related harm across the Australian society. The strategy identifies specific objectives to minimize or reduce harm to families, individuals and communities with reference to the needs of children living in families experiencing problems associated with drug and alcohol misuse, it was proposed that the Australian government develop a national strategy to aid the prevention of child neglect and abuse in the near future.
The National Drug Strategy 2010-2015 highlights major areas of strategic priority which includes early intervention and prevention, treatment,support and law, justice and enforcement. The alcohol strategy identified young people and children as the priority group for effective intervention and further enumerates the importance of developing ” family centered strategies to support parents living with drug and alcohol use problems to address their use and strengthen parenting skills, so as to prevent their children from being admited into care facilities as result of their alcohol use problems imate of 16% of child neglect and abuse cases were alcohol-related in the National.
In this research proposal, the policy context concerning child abuse and neglect in relation to parental alcohol and substance use has been largely influenced by media representation. This research proposal will contribute towards improving policy settings by engaging social work skills and techniques to work in collaboration with the media and other relevant state agencies,departments,families, communities and other non-governmental organisations in a way to improve service delivery including the following: Reduction of alcohol availability, increase in prices of alcohol, brief interventions and screeming, improving collaborations between child welfare services and alcohol treatment services and engaging the media in public education campaigns.
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