Depression and Anxiety Among Adult Children
How do the levels of depression and anxiety of adult children of non-alcoholics compare to the levels of depression and anxiety in adult children who were raised in alcoholic homes? The existing research supports higher levels of depression among adult children of alcoholics than adult children of non-alcoholics. Adult children of alcoholics also appear to be at greater risk of anxiety and fear than adult children of non-alcoholics.
In addition, studies show that not only are adult children of alcoholics more depressed than adult children of non-alcoholics, but they also have lower self-esteem. The low self-esteem and depression are the result of a negative attributional style in which adult children of alcoholics tend to perceive failure as more internal, stable, and global than do adult children of non-alcoholics. Adult children of alcoholics have significantly higher rates of simple phobia and agoraphobia and lifetime rates of dysthymia, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, simple phobia, and agoraphobia than adult children of non-alcoholics. Also, adult children of alcoholics who have anxiety disorders are more likely to be female, and their alcoholic parents are less likely to have had psychiatric antecedents to alcoholism.
If depression and anxiety are thought of as indices of underlying psychopathology, generally adult children of alcoholics have more psychopathology than adult children of non-alcoholics. This belief was tested in one study comparing groups of adult children of alcoholic and non-alcoholic families. The gender of adult children of alcoholics as well as the gender of their alcoholic parents were also examined as predictors of psychopathology. In the study, 323 female and 102 male undergraduates completed the Clinical Analysis Questionnaire to assess anxiety, depression, and general maladjustment, and a screening test to identify adult...