Intimate Relationships of Adult Children of Alcoholics

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Difficulties developing and maintaining intimate relationships are often attributed to adult children of alcoholics (ACAs). However, the focus of the literature has been on those obtaining psychological treatment and has primarily involved clinical impressions. The purpose of this study was to examine intimacy in the close friendships and love relationships of ACAs. Autonomy and intimacy in respondents' families of origin were also analyzed. Comparisons were made between ACAs currently in (n = 59) and not in (n = 53) therapy, and comparisons who had (n = 48) and had not (n = 77) received therapy. Alcoholics were eliminated. It was ... continued below

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viii, 182 leaves

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Settle, Karen Ree August 1988.

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This dissertation is part of the collection entitled: UNT Theses and Dissertations and was provided by UNT Libraries to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 125 times , with 22 in the last month . More information about this dissertation can be viewed below.

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  • Settle, Karen Ree

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Description

Difficulties developing and maintaining intimate relationships are often attributed to adult children of alcoholics (ACAs). However, the focus of the literature has been on those obtaining psychological treatment and has primarily involved clinical impressions. The purpose of this study was to examine intimacy in the close friendships and love relationships of ACAs. Autonomy and intimacy in respondents' families of origin were also analyzed. Comparisons were made between ACAs currently in (n = 59) and not in (n = 53) therapy, and comparisons who had (n = 48) and had not (n = 77) received therapy. Alcoholics were eliminated. It was hypothesized that ACAs would score significantly lower than comparisons on love and friendship intimacy and autonomy and intimacy in their families of origin. Among the ACAs, those in therapy would score lower than those not in therapy. Hypotheses were tested using MANOVAS. ANOVAs were administered where there were significant differences, and Newman-Keuls contrasts further delineated the divergence. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to obtain explanatory data. The two ACA groups seem to represent distinct populations with those not in therapy failing to report intimacy differences previously ascribed to them. While all of the groups were similar in friendship closeness, only the ACAs in therapy had significantly less intimacy in love relationships. Furthermore, clinical ACAs differed from the other groups by having less family of origin health, more physical and sexual abuse, more maternal drinking, more depression, and more suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Family of origin health predicted intimacy in a love relationship. Family characteristics encompassing honesty, empathy and respect, which may or may not involve alcoholism, seemed to create an atmosphere of faulty parenting in the ACA clinical group which may have subsequently affected the child's intimacy in a love relationship. Results of the study support a developmental model and demonstrate the importance of including nonclinical ACAs as well as clinical comparisons in future research.

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viii, 182 leaves

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  • August 1988

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  • Aug. 22, 2014, 6 p.m.

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  • Oct. 15, 2015, 8:47 a.m.

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Citations, Rights, Re-Use

Settle, Karen Ree. Intimate Relationships of Adult Children of Alcoholics, dissertation, August 1988; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc331220/: accessed December 12, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .