Family of origin functioning and use of coping strategies among adult daughters of alcoholic fathers




Gwaltney, Susan Hines

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Two questionnaires, the Self-Report Family Inventory (SFI) and coping strategies items taken from the Health and Daily Living Adult Form B (HDL), were used to investigate family environment measures that discriminate adult daughters of alcoholic fathers (ACA) from adult daughters of non-alcoholic fathers (non-ACA), to determine if coping strategies differ among ACA and between ACA and non-ACA. Subjects were sought to complete demographic information and the two questionnaires through community counseling centers and churches.

ANOVA results indicated that ACA differed significantly and in the direction of less competence from non-ACA on measures of: Health, Conflict, Cohesion, and Expressiveness, but not on Leadership (p<.001). A significant positive association was found between avoidance coping strategies and Health, Conflict, Cohesion, and Expressiveness scores, but not Leadership scores (p<.0001). As competence in family functioning decreases, the use of avoidance coping strategies increases. Psychotherapy participants used more avoidance coping strategies than subjects who were not in psychotherapy; ACA in psychotherapy used more avoidance coping strategies than ACA who were not in psychotherapy. An association was found between ACA classification and both physical and sexual abuse, in that ACA subjects were more likely to report that physical and sexual abuse occurred in their families of origin. Results indicate that ACA perceive their families as less functional than non-ACA.



Social sciences, Psychology, Adult Children of Alcoholics