Parental Alcoholism as a Determinant of Drinking Styles in Their Adult Children

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, January 1994

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A Review



Parental Alcoholism as a Determinant of

Drinking Styles in Their Adult Children: A review

Considerable research has been conducted in recent years on

the personality characteristics of adult and adolescent children

of alcoholics ( Berkowitz & Perkins, 1988; Seefeldt & Lyon,

1992). In order for us to examine some of the literature

concerning the drinking patterns of adult children, we will

begin by examining other defining traits that are seen as

generally characteristic of adult children of alcoholics. Adult

children will henceforth be referred to as ACOA'S.

An important factor in addressing any issue related to

ACOA's is a definition of alcoholism (Shuckit, 1987). The

A.P.A. (1987) in its definition of alcoholism requires symptoms

such as heavy drinking over a time, the inability to stop

drinking at will, major life problems, tolerance to drinking,

impaired social or occupational functioning, and withdrawal

symptoms upon quitting use.

Shuckit points to the fact that

alcoholism has been defined as genetic in nature by many

studies. This viewpoint allows us to begin a review of the

offspring of alcoholics and their possible genetic

predisposition to alcoholism. Another consideration in the

discussion of children of alcoholics and their tendencies toward

alcoholism is

the environmental factors involved in growing up in an

alcoholic home. These environmental factors have been more

difficult to research and, as a result, have been documented

less frequently than heredity and genetics. Although this

review will focus primarily on the possible biological basis for

the familial transmission of alcoholism, the environmental

factors will also be examined. For our purposes, we will define

'environmental' as being any external influence encountered by

the children of alcoholics, especially the attitudes and

behaviors of the alcoholic parents.

Early research, such as that of...