The proposed research is a multimethod study of the interpersonal skills of a non-clinical sample of adult children of alcoholics. The major goal of this study is to behaviorally assess communication and problem-solving skills associated with effective interpersonal functioning and relationship development. This research will also examine the implications of interpersonal skills acquisition and alcohol expectancies for current alcohol use. A preliminary investigation of paternal drinking and family factors as mediators/moderators of interpersonal skills acquisition will be conducted. Generally, there is a lack of empirical studies of adult COAs. The research that does exist is fraught with methodological weaknesses, such as reliance on clinical samples, lack of controls for multiple problems and failure to collect drinking pattern data. Introductory psychology students will be screened for the presence/absence of parental alcoholism, divorce, and psychopathology. Three groups of subjects will be recruited for the study: 80 children of alcoholic fathers and nonalcoholic mothers; 80 children of control parents; and 80 children of nonalcoholic, divorced parents. Subjects whose parents meet diagnostic criteria for Major Depression or Antisocial Personality will be excluded. In an acquaintanceship exercise, communication skills will be examined as a function of group, subject sex, target sex, and intimacy of discussion topic within a 3B X 2B X 2B X 5W design. An interpersonal problem-solving task will be used to assess subjects' means-ends thinking, i.e., the ability to plan the attainment of an interpersonal goal. Questionnaire data will include socio- demographics; current alcohol use, alcohol expectancies, and normative influences on drinking; and paternal drinking and family factors. Collateral assessments on subsets of the variables will be obtained from subjects' mothers, fathers, and same-sex friends. Multivariate analysis of variance will be used to examine the hypothesis that COAs will show deficits in communication and problem-solving skills. Multiple regression analyses will be used to predict subjects' current alcohol use and to explore potential mediators/moderators of interpersonal skills acquisition. Interpersonal skills and alcohol expectancies are expected to interact to predict alcohol use. Family factors are expected to mediate/moderate the relation between paternal drinking and interpersonal skills acquisition among children of alcoholics.
|Senchak, M; Greene, B W; Carroll, A et al. (1996) Global, behavioral and self ratings of interpersonal skills among adult children of alcoholic, divorced and control parents. J Stud Alcohol 57:638-45|