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Screening tool helps to identify at-risk children

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Nurses working with children and adolescents can use a simple screening tool to identify those at high-risk from substance-abusing parents, according to researchers.

The US nurses studied 121 young people, aged 13-19, who reported having a parent or other family member with a substance abuse problem.

Using a 30-question true or false survey, called the Children of Alcoholics Screening Tool (CAST), the authors rated the adolescents’ risk of being impacted on by their parents’ addiction – either low, moderate or high.

They found that children judged to be in the high risk group had significantly more medical conditions and reported more negative moods than those in the other groups.

Journal for Specialists in Paediatric Nursing (2008) 13: 15-25

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