A new research study from the University of Toronto shows that substance abuse in parents can lead to arthritis in the next generation. If an individual has at least one parent who had substance abuse problems then the individual is more likely to develop arthritis as an adult, and the risk is significantly higher than if neither parent abused drugs or alcohol. The research study involved more than 13,000 adults, and the results showed that slightly more than 1 in 5 of the study participants were diagnosed with arthritis by a medical professional. Approximately 14.5% of the study participants reported that at least one of their parents had substance abuse problems while the participant was still in the home and under the age of 18 years old. The study was published in the online journal International Journal of Population Research, and it shows that individuals whose parent had substance abuse problems were more likely to develop arthritis as an adult.
According to Esme Fuller-Thomson Ph.D, the lead author of the study, “In fact, after adjusting for age, sex, and race, parental addictions were associated with 58 percent higher odds of arthritis.” Jessica Liddycoat M.S.W, one of the co-authors of the study, stated “We had anticipated that the adult offspring’s health behaviors such as smoking, obesity, and alcohol consumption might explain the strong link between parental addictions and arthritis, however, we did not find this to be the case. Even after adjusting for these adult health behaviors, as well as income, education, a history of childhood maltreatment, and mood and anxiety disorders, we found that parental addictions was still a statistically significant factor associated with 30 percent higher odds of arthritis.”