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Fathers and substance misuse: a literature review

Linda Bell (Department of Mental Health and Social Work, School of Health and Education, Middlesex University, London, UK)
Rachel Herring (Department of Mental Health and Social Work, School of Health and Education, Middlesex University, London, UK)
Fizz Annand (Department of Mental Health and Social Work, School of Health and Education, Middlesex University, London, UK)

Drugs and Alcohol Today

ISSN: 1745-9265

Article publication date: 11 December 2020

Issue publication date: 11 December 2020

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review the following research questions from the available literature: What evidence is there to suggest that substance misuse specifically by fathers (including alcohol and other drugs) causes wider harms, including child welfare concerns? substance misuse, recovery, parents, fathers, fathering, drugs/ alcohol services. How do professionals respond specifically to substance misuse by fathers? Do interventions aimed at parental substance misuse (particularly in the UK) include both mothers and fathers and if so how?

Design/methodology/approach

A scoping literature review was conducted which identified 34 papers (including scoping reviews published in 2006 and 2008, covering the period 1990-2005) and 26 additional studies published between 2002 and 2020.

Findings

The review in this paper is organised into six themes: Negative impact of men’s substance misuse problems on their parenting behaviours; quality of the relationship between parents affected by substance misuse of the fathers, in turn affecting the parenting behaviour and outcomes for children; importance to fathers of their fathering role (for example, as a financial provider); difficulties fathers may face in developing their fathering role; sidelining of the fathering role in substance misuse services; and professionals tending to focus on the mother’s role in parenting inventions and services.

Originality/value

This paper focusses on fathers and substance misuse, which is an under-researched field within the wider contexts of fathering research and research into parental substance misuse.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This literature review was supported by a grant (SG 1617-03) from the Department of Mental Health and Social Work, Middlesex University, London.

Citation

Bell, L., Herring, R. and Annand, F. (2020), "Fathers and substance misuse: a literature review", Drugs and Alcohol Today, Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 353-369. https://doi.org/10.1108/DAT-06-2020-0037

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited