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Can five year old children be alcoholics?

Wednesday, 21 September 2016


A public lecture by Hiram E. Fitzgerald, PhD University Distinguished Professor Department of Psychology, and Associate Provost, University Outreach and Engagement, Michigan State University, and Visiting Research Professor, Edith Cowan University will discuss this question.

Male Children of Alcoholics (COAs), as young as three years of age, construct mental representations or internal working models of alcohol use and parental behaviour that include contextual, motivational, normative aspects of use, interpersonal relationships, and an emerging sense of self.

Professor Fitzgerald will argue that preschool age male COAs construct a mental model or representation of adult use of alcohol and interpersonal relationships that substantially increases their risk for the organisation of addictive and antisocial behaviour. The presentation will focus on neurobiological, epigenetic, and experiential evidence to support these contentions within the context of an alcoholic parental rearing environment. A conceptual model of development during infancy and early childhood will be presented to defend an answer of “Yes” to the question raised in the title.

Hiram Fitzgerald is a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology and Associate Provost for University Outreach and Engagement at Michigan State University.

For 29 years he has been associated with the Michigan Longitudinal Study of Family Risk for Alcoholism over the Life Course, a systems based study examining paternal influences on alcohol aetiology that began when children were age 3.

Fitzgerald’s major areas of funded research include the study of infant and family development, the impact of fathers on early child development. He was senior editor of two special issues of the Infant Mental Health Journal that focused on fathers (1981, 1999), a special issue of Applied Developmental Science (2007), and a special issue of Family Science (2012). He was also a contributing author for chapters in each edition of the Handbook of Father Involvement. He is currently senior editor of a special issue of the Infant Mental Health Journal on boys at risk and a volume on fathers and early childhood development.

Fitzgerald has published over 500 journal articles, chapters, books, and peer-reviewed abstracts. He has received numerous awards, including the ZERO TO THREE Dolley Madison Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contributions to the Development and Well Being of Very Young Children, the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health Selma Fraiberg Award, the WAIMH Award, and the designation of Honorary President from the World Association for Infant Mental Health. He is a Fellow of the Association of Psychological Science, the American Psychological Association (Divisions 7, 34, 37, 43, 50) and the Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology. He earned his doctorate at the University of Denver (1967).

Event details

Date: Monday, 10 October, 2016
Time: 5.00pm-7.00pm
Venue: Edith Cowan University, Mount Lawley Campus, Building 10, Lecture Theatre 10.131
RSVP: Light refreshments provided so RSVP is appreciated by Friday, 7 October to Alida Byatt
Parking is available off Central Avenue in Mount Lawley. Parking Lot 06, adjacent to Building 10 in the blue staff parking bays. Parking is free from 5.00pm.

Infant Mental Health at Edith Cowan University

The Master of Infant Mental Health course is the first of its kind in WA and has been developed to suit professionals already working with infants, young children and their families across many service areas. The course aligns with international standards and competencies. It equip students with evidence‐based knowledge and skills, and has an interdisciplinary focus across the levels of promotion, prevention, intervention and policy in the field of Infant Mental Health.
You’re invited to chat with our Master of Infant Mental Health Coordinator after Professor Fitzgerald’s presentation.


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