Term Paper: Addiction to Alcohol

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[. . .] But most cogent for the current investigation is their finding that "Specifically, there was evidence that women were more impacted by family background variables (both FHA and FHV) in terms of adult problems with alcohol, drugs and violence (for men, family background variables were associated only with adult problems with drugs and violence) (Chermack et al. 2000 845).

Treatment effectiveness studies

Beattie found that information concerning the magnitude of the relationship between interpersonal factors and drinking outcomes was inconsistent. Beattie's study investigated that relationship, and provided a review and synthesis of some of the findings of prior research examining the correlation between alcoholism treatment drinking outcomes and social relationships (Beattie, 2001 518). Beattie's article approached relationships from the opposite end of the spectrum from the investigation to be undertaken here; Beattie investigated the role of social relationships on alcoholism treatment outcomes, whereas the current investigation will investigate the effect of drinking on the social relationships. Beattie noted that "A better understanding of the role of social relationships in treated populations during the course of treatment and recovery or relapse may help to clarify how treatment can better utilize clients' social relationships to maximize treatment effectiveness" (Beattie, 2001 518). Beattie's conclusion are useful as adjuncts to the discoveries expected in the current study.

Especially interesting are the associations Beattie found between drinking treatment outcomes varied depending on the particular social relationship involved, and, most importantly, " the effect of social relationships on drinking outcomes is variable, inconsistent and weak" (Beattie, 2001 518). Note: For Beattie, "Social relationships involve social ties to one or more individuals in a person's environment" (Beattie, 2001 518), whereas the arguably stronger ties of family are being investigated here.

Closer in some ways to the current investigation was the work of Friedemann, who investigated the perception of family functioning of rehabilitating inner-city substance abusers and one of their family members (1996, 123+) Perhaps most interesting is that Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon, which provided the subjects for the study, define substance abuse as a "disease of the mind, body, and spirit"...and " it is viewed as a genetic and environmental disease... manifested as a complex syndrome that touches every area of a person's life, as well as family and friends" (Friedemann 1996, 123+). Friedemann also cited projects that showed that family involvement was one of the most important factors influencing recovery.

Special problems of youth drinking study which investigated youth drinking and was dependent of responses by mothers of adolescents revealed that "families of adolescents with alcohol use disorders functioned less well than did families of adolescents with other mental disorders, whereas by adolescent reports these groups were not significantly different" (Clark et al. 1998, 81). This is suggestive regarding the possible need to weight the answers to the questionnaires in the current study. Also, allied to the current investigation is this finding presented by Clark: "Alcohol use disorders are thought to reflect systemic family problems by many clinicians and theorists" (Clark et al. 1998, 81) These authors also reported that adolescents in treatment of alcohol use disorders were observed to come from disrupted, violent or otherwise dysfunctional families; the same study had obtained ratings of family cohesion and adaptability form the adolescent, mother, father and therapist (Clark et al. 1998, 81). "Adolescents in the two groups with high alcohol and drug consumption perceived lower family cohesion and flexibility, as measured by the FACES II, compared with adolescents in the abstinent comparison group," the study found (Clark et al. 1998, 86). Bennette's study of problem drinking from young adulthood to adulthood showed that "youth-limited problem drinkers reported greater parental permissiveness, and showed more problem behaviors and escape reasons for use than did developmentally-persistent problem drinkers," (Bennette 1999, 605) another commentary on possible familial effects of alcohol addiction, at least when the addition involves a young family member. Costa et al. (1999) showed that young problem drinkers, regardless of family conditions, were more likely to become problem drinkers later on.

Alcohol and violence

Perhaps one of the most severe expectations of alcohol addiction in a family would concern violence, a subject studied by Gorman et al.; that study accepted a prior that alcohol led to violent behavior, but investigated what effect easy availability of alcohol had on the incidences of violence. They noted that "According to the New Jersey Uniform Crime Reports, alcohol is 'involved' in 3 to 4 of every 10 domestic violence offenses," (Gorman et al. 1998, 661) which is supportive of the hypothesis being investigated in this paper.

Methodology local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon (the group for family members and significant others of alcoholics) will be enlisted to provide answers to questionnaires regarding alcohol use by the addicted family member and family dynamics.

Because these groups are anonymous by design, it will be necessary to provide the questionnaires to the leadership, after enlisting their support for the project, and allowing them to collect the data. While this compromises the responses in one respect, that is, the researcher has no direct control over who the respondents are and whether their answers may be considered reliable, in another sense it allows for the possibility of more complete and revealing responses in light of the complete anonymity of the responses.

Ideally, there would be responses from both the addicted family member and another member of that same family; however, because of the anonymous nature of the responses, it will not be possible to ascertain those relationships with any degree of reliability. Therefore, the information will be assessed and presented as two sets of data with no causative relationship expected or implied.

Sample questionnaires

Sample questions, using a five-point scale in parts, are:

Addicted family member

What is your role in the family? (Father, mother, child, other?)

When did you first recognize your addiction?

Was your family the same size and makeup then as now?

Describe family members (that is, parents, children, extended family members), including gender, age at present and status in family)

Describe effect of your addiction on each family member of the following scale:

Very negative Slightly negative Neutral

Slightly Positive Highly Positive

Has this effect changed since you recognized your addition?

Has it become less or more negative?

Check each of the effects recognition of your addiction has had on any family member in any degree or on the family as a whole:

Depression

Anger

Acting out behaviors

Withdrawal

Failure at endeavors formerly met with success

Change in attitude toward you (negative)

Change in attitude toward life (negative)

Hopelessness

Moroseness

Loss of sense of humor

Loss of appetite

Increase in appetite

Loss of interest in formerly enjoyed activities

Unwillingness to cooperate with you or others

Family member of addicted person

What is your role in the family? (Father, mother, child, other?)

When did you first recognize your family member's addiction?

Was your family the same size and makeup then as now?

Describe family members (that is, parents, children, extended family members), including gender, age at present and status in family)

Describe effect of your family member's addiction on you and on each family member of the following scale:

Very negative Slightly negative Neutral

Slightly Positive Highly Positive

Has this effect changed since you recognized your family member's addition?

Has it become less or more negative?

Check each of the effects recognition of your family member's addiction has had on any family member in any degree or on the family as a whole:

Depression

Anger

Acting out behaviors

Withdrawal

Failure at endeavors formerly met with success

Change in attitude toward you (negative)

Change in attitude toward life (negative)

Hopelessness

Moroseness

Loss of sense of humor

Loss of appetite

Increase in appetite

Loss of interest in formerly enjoyed activities

Unwillingness to cooperate with you or others

Works Cited

Beattie, Martha C. "Meta-Analysis of Social Relationships and Post-treatment Drinking Outcomes: Comparison of Relationship Structure, Function and Quality." Journal of Studies on Alcohol 62.4 (2001): 518. Questia. 14 June 2004 http://www.questia.com/.

Bennette, Melanie E., et al. "Problem Drinking from Young Adulthood to Adulthood: Patterns, Predictors and Outcomes." Journal of Studies on Alcohol 60.5 (1999): 605. Questia. 14 June 2004 http://www.questia.com/.

Chermack, Stephen T., et al. "Gender Differences in the Development of Substance-Related Problems: The Impact of Family History of Alcoholism, Family History of Violence and Childhood Conduct Problems." Journal of Studies on Alcohol 61.6 (2000): 845. Questia. 14 June 2004 http://www.questia.com/.

Clark, Duncan B., et al. "Family Functioning and Adolescent Alcohol Use Disorders." Journal of Family Psychology 12.1 (1998): 81-92.

Costa, Frances M., Richard Jessor, and Mark S. Turbin. "Transition into Adolescent Problem Drinking: The Role of Psychosocial Risk and Protective Factors." Journal of Studies on Alcohol 60.4 (1999): 480. Questia. 14 June 2004 http://www.questia.com/.

Friedemann, Marie-Luise. "Effects of ALANON Attendance on Family Perception of Inner-City Indigents." American Journal of Drug and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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