Psychological health and substance abuse in the family system




Watson, Maryanne M.

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The Beavers-Timberlawn Family Evaluation Scale (BT) and the Locke/Wallace Marital Adjustment Inventory were utilized to assess the interactional dynamics and marital satisfaction of three groups of families; 37 alcoholic clinic, 43 nonalcoholic clinic, and 40 nonalcoholic, nonclinic families. The alcoholic clinic and nonalcoholic clinic families were volunteer families from four local family therapy agencies. The nonalcoholic nonclinic families, were volunteer families from two local church congregations. Each family was given an unstrutured task and videotaped for 10 minutes. These videotaped segments were then rated by blind raters to determine the family interactions. Results indicated that families from the alcoholic group differed from other types of families based on interactional measures. The normal families were rated significantly more competent on every scale of the BT. While there was some interactional overlap between the families in the alcoholic and clinic groups, and between the families in the normal and clinic groups, a consistent pattern emerged. On every BT subscale, the normal families demonstrated the most interactional competence, while the families in the alcoholic group demonstrated the least interactional competence. In addition, the clinic families demonstrated significantly more competence than the families in the alcoholic group on the subscales that measure Overt Power, Parental Coalition, and Empathy. The husbands and wives in the alcoholic group reported significantly more dissatisfaction with their marriages than the husbands and wives in either other group reported. In addition, the wives in the alcoholic clinic groups reported significantly more dissatisfaction with their marriages than the husbands in either group reported. Results of a multiple discriminate analysis revealed that the three groups were primarily discriminated on the basis of the subscales that measure Goal-Directed Neogtiation, Mood and Tone, Mythology, Unresolved Conflict, Empathy, and Range of Feelings. Results of a classification analysis demonstrated successful prediction of group membership for 73% of the families in the alcoholic group, 78% of the families in the normal group, and 49% of the families in the clinic group. Results clearly indicate that there are distinct interactional dynamics that distinguish alcoholic from nonalcoholic families.



Alcoholics, Family psychotherapy, Family counseling, Substance abuse