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Research project: The experiences of adults, who drink within recommended limits and who grew up in a home with problem drinking parent/s

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There is much controversy over what causes alcohol-related problems, numerous studies propose that having a family member with an alcohol problem leads to varied negative health outcomes for the children and/or later in adulthood; studies have consistently suggested that children of problem drinking parents are more likely to have psychological problems or in adulthood become a parent with alcohol dependence.

The numbers of people with problem drinking tendencies who are parents with children or adolescents in their care were noted in 2001 as being in excess of one million in Britain (Velleman and Orford, 2001).

It is therefore important, with these numerous factors posing potential risks, to explore adults’ experiences of growing up in a home where a parent/s drank alcohol to excess, their perceptions of the drinking, the environment, their relationships with other family members, siblings and their own relationship with alcohol and whether drinking within recommended limits is a conscious decision and if so, what influences this. Alcohol Concern, in 1997 reported that within the UK, approximately one million children were living in families where at least one parent has problem drinking tendencies and Glasper (2010) notes a rise in alcohol consumption.

This offers opportunity to develop greater knowledge in this area which may contribute to understanding these experiences and in turn may add to the developing knowledge and awareness of drinking behavior and any associated risk of growing up in a home where there is problem drinking. It aims to inform nursing in caring for people with problem drinking and those with experiences of others problem drinking. Where nursing roles are developing to include opportunistic individual patient/client alcohol screening and in identifying appropriate support, developing education and training of health care professionals (WHO, 2007) learning about these experiences may develop the nursing role in supporting families in the process of change. Furthermore knowledge development may inform alcohol policy and strategy.

Project team

Tracey Harding

Project funder

None specified


Related research groups

Conferences and events associated with this project:

February 2006 - Poster displayed: RCN Joint Educations Forum Conference – Excellence in the education of Gastroenterology nurses: ‘Involving the patient, clinician and commercial enterprise.’ Authors C.S.Whitehead & T.A.Harding

November 2005 - Poster displayed: RCN GI & Stoma Care Conference Telford International Centre - Excellence in the education of Gastroenterology nurses: ‘Involving the patient, clinician and commercial enterprise.’ Authors C.S.Whitehead & T.A.Harding

July 2005 - School Conference, University of Southampton Partnerships in Education – ‘Using partnerships in educations; involving the patient, clinician and commercial enterprise.’ Authors C.S. Whitehead & T.A.Harding

Key Publication

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