Date of Paper

5-2016

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Pa Der Vang

Department/School

Master of Social Work

Abstract

The purpose of this systematic review was to identify how a school-aged child’s school performance is affected by having a primary caregiver who abuses substances. It is important for social workers to understand what behaviors indicate concerns about substance abuse in the child’s home because social workers can work on interventions to best support the child. Ten studies met inclusion criteria for the systematic review. The findings demonstrated that children living with a caregiver who abuses substances tend to be more often truant, have an increase in externalized behaviors in the classroom, and lower academic performance. The findings also found that school performance varied in the children whose caregiver abused substance due to protective factors in the child’s home, such as exposure to the substance use or other caretakers involved in the child’s life. Most of the research studies were conducted in populations that already were involved in social welfare systems. More research is needed to understand the impact of substance abuse on children whose caregivers are not involved in social welfare systems already.

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