Explaining drug abuse through the intergenerational transmission of family functioning
Twenty five families with a young substance abuser between the ages of 18 and 32 currently participating in a drug treatment program, were compared to twenty five matched control families recruited from a student population. Families were compared for differences on measures of intergenerational family functioning and family history variables to assess the relationship between multigenerational family factors and drug abuse in the young adult.^ Intergenerational family functioning was measured by eight subscales on the Personal Authority in the Family System Questionnaire (PAFS-Q, Bray, Williamson, & Malone, 1984). Family history variables were assessed both quantitatively and qualitatively through a structured genogram interview (McGoldrick & Gerson, 1985).^ Results from MANOVAs and Discriminant Function Analyses revealed significant differences between the two groups. The clinical subjects scored significantly lower than the comparison subjects on measures of Intergenerational Intimacy and Intergenerational Individuation. They scored significantly higher on measures of Intergenerational Intimidation and Intergenerational Triangulation. The subscale, Intergenerational Intimidation was found to most powerfully differentiate between the two samples. Clinical parents scored significantly higher on measures of Spouse Intimacy. Measures of Personal Authority, Spouse Intimacy and Intergenerational Intimidation were shown to significantly differentiate the parents in both samples, with clinical parents displaying less Personal Authority and more Intergenerational Intimidation and Spouse Intimacy. Differences between the clinical and comparison families were also revealed on demographic measures, with clinical families reporting less education and a lower household income than the comparison group.^ Evaluation of the family genogram data resulted in significant differences between the clinical and comparison samples on measures of history of substance abuse, history of physical and sexual abuse, and history of separation and divorce, with clinical families reporting greater frequencies of these intergenerational behavioral patterns.^ The results of this study indicate that intergenerational family functioning and family history are strongly associated with the symptom of substance abuse in a young family member. An interpretation of moderating variables that may be acting as risk factors or protective factors in the transmission of symptomatology is presented. In addition, the mechanisms for intergenerational transmission are discussed. Recommendations are suggested for treatment applications and future family research directions. ^
Psychology, Clinical|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies
Judith Anne Goldman,
"Explaining drug abuse through the intergenerational transmission of family functioning"
Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access).