Date of Award

2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

McLennan, Conor

Subject Headings

Alcoholism -- Psychological aspects, Alcoholics -- Family relationships, Substance abuse, Dysfunctional families, Alcohol, Family, Anxiety, Depression

Abstract

Alcohol use is a multibillion dollar problem in the United States that has been linked to higher rates of anxiety, depression and maladjustment within families. Most studies examining the impact of alcohol use in these areas focus on individuals within treatment facilities. This study extended that research to examine the effects of social and emotional effects of alcohol use on a greater sample of the population, the family members of alcohol users. This study examined the relationships between family alcohol use and higher rates of depression, anxiety, and maladjustment. The data was expected to follow one of two general patterns. First, that as reports of family alcohol use increased greater symptoms of anxiety, depression and maladjustment would be reported. Second, that the data would fit the J-shaped function often seen in medical outcomes for alcohol users in which there is a down trend between non-users and moderate users followed by increasing negative outcomes as use increases. The data collected from 177 undergraduate students at Cleveland State University fit the second model for self reports of anxiety and depression, with no significant results observed between the levels of use and adjustment. The data indicates that individuals reporting minimal and moderate levels of family alcohol use have significantly lower levels of anxiety and depression compared to those reporting high levels of alcohol use, which is consistent with the literature. More significantly, the data suggests that participants reporting minimal and moderate levels of family alcohol use experience lower levels of anxiety and depression than those reporting no family alcohol use. More research is needed to determine if low levels of alcohol use are beneficial or if confounding factors contribute to non-users higher levels of negative outcomes

Included in

Psychology Commons

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