Family’ members experiences of their older relative’s alcohol and substance misuse - Nasjonalt senter for aldring og helse

International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, 2022

Family’ members experiences of their older relative’s alcohol and substance misuse

Background: Alcohol consumption in Norway and much of the western world has increased during the past decades, in particular among older adults (> 65 years). Although living with a family member’s alcohol misuse has been shown to have a significant deleterious health impact, research on this topic is both lacking and urgently needed to develop targeted health services.
Aim: To generate knowledge of how family members are affected by their older relatives’ alcohol and other substance misuse problems.
Method: In 2020, 17 individual interviews were carried out with the wives and adult children of older adults with alcohol and other substance misuse problems. Data were analysed using content analysis.
Findings: Analyses revealed two main themes; the impact of living with psychological stress over time, and the impact over time on family relationships and functioning. Both included four subthemes, representing different dimensions of participants’ experiences of the impact of their older relative’s alcohol and substance misuse.
Conclusion: The challenges family members experienced through ongoing exposure to their relatives’ alcohol and/or other substance misuse increased over time. These experiences had significant negative consequences for their health and life situation.

Forfatter(e)

Aud Johannessen, Kjerstin Tevik, Knut Engedal, Thomas Tjelta & Anne-Sofie Helvik

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