Extent of functional coping style in the teenage children of alcoholic parents




Petersen-Kelley, Angela Marie,1948-

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Sam Houston State University


The objectives of this study were to determine the type of coping behavior or style in the teenage children of alcoholics attending Alateen meetings in Houston, Texas. Additionally to learn specifically what differences, if any, exist in the coping behaviors of the teenage children of alcoholic parents when compared to children of non-alcoholic parents. The methods used in this study were to administer the Family Environment Scale FES Form R measuring ten dimensions of family environment to a sample of thirty-nine Alateen participants at four meeting locations. In order to match as accurately as possible the norm group socio-economic distribution, sponsors at each Alateen meeting tested were asked to estimate the income level of the families of the Alateen members present. FES answer sheets were manually scored with the stencil key. "Student" t-test analysis determined differences with a probability of .05 or less were considered significant. The teenage children of alcoholics scores on the FES indicate their family environments are less cohesive, less expressive and less independent, while these families at the same time involve themselves in fewer intellectual and cultural activities, fewer active and recreational activities and manifest less control or structure in their families. The Alateens in this study, based on the comparison of family environment dimensions, were found to less often use functional coping behavior such as shared family activities, social behaviors involving others, involvement in outside-the- home activities, and confidence and some degree of independence in interacting with others. Alateen meetings are providing teenage children of alcoholics an opportunity to learn and practice more functional coping behaviors. These behaviors include expressing one's feelings openly and directly; learning to express concern and be supportive of others; becoming assertive and self-sufficient, learning to think things out by oneself; helping oneself and accepting responsibility for one's own problems.



Alcohol abuse, Alcoholism, coping behavior, Children, Teenagers