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Parental Alcoholism & Effect on Children

Adult children of alcoholics are often found in social workers' caseloads (Martin, 1991). To the extent that empirical studies uncover the effects of parental alcoholism on the psychoemotional and relational status of adult offspring of alcoholics, social workers will be better able to assess and treat these clients (Martin, 1995). It is these facts that make the study by Kashubeck and Christensen (1995) that is critiqued in this paper relevant to social workers.

The purposes of Kashubeck and Christensen's (1995) study were to determine whether, for a sample of college students whether:

(1) Students' self-esteem was correlated with depression independently of family functioning; and

(2) Family relational quality was associated with students' degree of distress about paternal alcoholism and behavior.

An extremely comprehensive review of the variables of interest was presented that supported the need for the undertaken study and that assisted in the development of the study's central purpose and research questions. All citations were from reputable journals.

All subjects in the study were psychology students volunteering their participation. A demographic breakdown of the sample was provided. However, there was no discussion of the fact that volunteers have decidedly different characteristics than non-volunteers (Kiess & Bloomquist, 1985) and that, therefore, it could be possible that findings may be only generalizable to the volunteering subset of the population from which subjects were drawn---this population being all of the college students who were currently enrolled in the two basic psychology courses from which subjects were drawn.

Measures collected in the study were: (1) the Children of Alcoholics Screening Test (CAST); (2) the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI); (3) the Family Relation Index (FRI); and (4) the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory. It was noted that all of these measures were well-con...

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