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Functioning of Concerned Others When Adults Enter Treatment for an Alcohol Use Disorder.
Timko C, Grant KM, Cucciare MA. Functioning of Concerned Others When Adults Enter Treatment for an Alcohol Use Disorder. Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research. 2019 Sep 1; 43(9):1986-1993.
Poor functioning among Concerned Others (COs; family and friends of an individual with an alcohol or other substance use disorder) is a significant public health problem. The purpose of this study was to inform interventions for COs by examining potential correlates of 3 aspects of functioning: quality of life, mental health, and knowledge of how to handle problems related to their drinker.
This study collected data from 277 COs when their friend or family member (their "drinker") was entering treatment for an alcohol use disorder. Potential correlates were the drinker's substance use severity, the CO-drinker relationship and communication, and COs' coping and perceived stigma related to involvement with their drinker.
In a summary analysis, only stressors in the CO-drinker relationship (the drinker's criticism, disagreement, anger, and demands) were consistently associated with poorer functioning as indicated by COs' poorer quality of life and mental health. In contrast, only COs' use of approach coping was associated with COs' knowing how to handle problems related to the drinker.
Because reducing both relationship stressors and the link between stressors and poor functioning can be achieved through CO and drinker education and intervention, these findings inform how to effectively support COs' goals for better functioning.