Indexed on: 20 Dec '18Published on: 20 Dec '18Published in: International Journal of Mental Health Nursing
Families have a crucial role supporting a relative with alcohol and/or other drug misuse, but the role has adverse implications for family members' coping, which in turn, affects their ability and willingness to support the relative. The aim of this study was to assess the coping behaviours of affected family members of relatives with alcohol and/or other drug misuse and to assess if there was a relationship between the level of coping and family member type and support-giving experience. A cross-sectional survey design was used, and 90 respondents completed the questionnaire. Results suggest the following associations: that 'Other' family members made more frequent use of maladaptive coping strategies than intimate partners (P = 0.012); family members whose role had a negative effect on their physical health made more frequent use of maladaptive coping strategies than those whose role did not have this effect (P = 0.014); and family members whose role had a negative effect on their ability to socialise used maladaptive coping strategies more often than those whose role did not have this effect (P = 0.003). Engaged and tolerant-inactive maladaptive coping strategies had a significantly greater adverse influence on family members' physical health and/or socialising than withdrawal coping strategies. Affected family members should be supported to use adaptive coping strategies to mitigate the detrimental effects of their support-giving role and to sustain them in this crucial support-giving role. Family and friends, mental health nurses, and other clinicians in the alcohol and other drug field have an important role in supporting family members in this context. © 2018 Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Inc.