Communication and Cohesion among Family Members of Individuals with Substance Use Disorder in Iceland with a Focus on Adult Children of Addicts
Author(s): Olafsdottir J, Hrafnsdottir S and Orjasniemi T
Background. The aim of this research was to examine family cohesion and communication in families where one member has Substance Use Disorder (SUD). Do Icelandic family members of SUD report low communication and cohesion in their families? Are there significant differences between family members, such as spouses, parents, adult children, and siblings? And do family members express their feelings and experiences in a similar way? Methods. In this study, both quantitative and qualitative methods were used. The primary approach of the study utilized quantitative research methods to examine family cohesion and communication in families where one member has SUD. Two ten-item scales were used; the Family Communication Scale (FCS) and the Family Satisfaction Scale (FSS). The results of which led the researchers to interview four adult children of addicts in the second phase of the study. Qualitative methods were utilized so as to give the group of adult children of substance users a voice and in a hope to improve treatment methods specifically for this group. Results. The results indicate that the participants experienced low family cohesion and closeness overall, and they were concerned about family relations and the quality of their communication. Participants who had parents with SUD ranked family cohesion and communication lower compared to those who had a spouse/partner, siblings or children with SUD and became the basis for the second phase of the study. Conclusion and Applications. The results of this study can be used to improve and promote treatment for the whole family and for individual family members, especially adult children of SUD, and be used to better understand the effects of SUD on families and public health.