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Familial Dysfunction but not Parental Alcoholism Reflected in Psychopathology and Attachment Patterns Among College Students
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by Kimberley Conway, Michele Coro, Barbara Waldron, and John Broida* - University of Southern Maine
Adult children of alcoholics (ACOAs) often come from dysfunctional homes. Many traits attributed to ACOAs may also be evident in children from nonalcoholic but otherwise dysfunctional families. To the extent that parental alcoholism has unique effects, ACOAs may exhibit patterns different from those from otherwise dysfunctional homes. Two studies were conducted to examine the impact of parental alcoholism and familial dysfunction on scales of the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-II (MCMI-II), patterns of attachment to caregivers, and perceived social support from friends and family. Familial dysfunction was reþected in many characteristics attributed to ACOAs, including distrust, antisocial behavior, and psychopathology. Parental alcoholism was not found to have any unique impact on these variables in our samples of college students. Traits linked to parental alcoholism may reflect dysfunction in the family of origin rather than parental alcoholism per se.