Drug and alcohol problems: the user's perspectoive on family members' coping

Mya Krishnan, Jim Orford, R Velleman, Alexandre Copello, C Bradbury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of the study was to explore problem drug and alcohol users' perceptions of family members' coping in a cross-sectional interview study of problem drug and alcohol users, using a long semistructured interview. Participants comprised nine problem drinkers, five problem drug users and one problem drug and alcohol user (two-thirds male). Detailed qualitative analysis of interview reports suggested that drug and alcohol users have clear ideas regarding family members' coping. Coping strategies which encompass clear elements of concern for them appear to be well-received, in particular supportive coping and, in some cases, assertive coping. Controlling coping may be viewed positively by drug and alcohol users provided it is used in conjunction with supportive coping, thereby indicating concern. Furthermore, results suggested that users found all other forms of coping such as emotional, tolerant, inactive and avoidance to be unsupportive, the only exception being tolerant coping, which was found to be supportive when drug and alcohol users had no intention of altering their use. Drug and alcohol users' perceptions of family members' coping may be viewed in terms of the stress-coping model. Drug and alcohol users appreciate supportive coping actions, while coping strategies which involve family members withdrawing from them, making them feel guilty or forcing them to take actions against their will are felt to be unsupportive. The findings have implications for the way in which family members are advised to cope, not only in terms of their own physical and psychological well-being, but also in terms of how their actions are perceived by the users themselves.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-393
Number of pages9
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2001


  • drugs
  • family
  • alcohol
  • coping


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