Ways of coping and the health of relatives facing drug and alcohol problems in Mexico and England

Jim Orford, G Natera, R Velleman, Alexandre Copello, N Bowie, C Bradbury, J Davies, J Mora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Citations (Scopus)


AIMS: To compare two contrasting socio-cultural groups in terms of parameters relating to the stress - coping - health model of alcohol, drugs and the family, and to test hypotheses derived from the model in each of the two groups separately. DESIGN: Cross-sectional, comparative and correlational, using standard questionnaire data, supplemented by qualitative interview data to illuminate the findings. PARTICIPANTS: One hundred close relatives, mainly partners or parents, from separate families in Mexico City, and 100 from South West England. Data sources. Coping Questionnaire (CQ), Family Environment Scale (FES), Symptom Rating Test (SRT), Semi-structured interview. FINDINGS: Mean symptom scores were high in both groups, and not significantly different. The hypothesis that relatives in Mexico City, a more collectivist culture, would show more tolerant - inactive coping was not supported, but there was support for the prediction that relatives in South West England would show more withdrawal coping. This result may be as much due to differences in poverty and social conditions as to differences in individualism - collectivism. As predicted by the stress - coping - health model, tolerant - inactive coping was correlated with symptoms, in both groups, after controlling for family conflict, but there was only limited support for a moderating role of coping. Wives of men with alcohol problems in Mexico City, and wives of men with other drug problems in South West England, reported particularly high levels of both engaged and tolerant - inactive coping. CONCLUSIONS: Tolerant - inactive coping may be bad for relatives' health: causality may be inferred but is not yet proved. Certain groups are more at risk of coping in this way. Qualitative data help understand the nature of tolerant - inactive coping and why it occurs despite the view of relatives themselves that it is counter-productive.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)761-774
Number of pages14
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2001


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