Alcoholism is a highly stigmatized condition, with both alcohol-dependent individuals and family members of the afflicted experiencing stigmatization. This study examined the severity of a parent’s alcoholism and family topic avoidance about alcohol as two factors that are associated with family members’ perceptions of stigma. Three dimensions of stigma were considered: discrimination stigma, disclosure stigma, and positive aspect stigma. In addition, this study assessed associations between perceived stigmatization and individuals’ experiences of depressive symptoms, self-esteem, and resilience. Adult children of alcoholics (N = 622) were surveyed about family conditions, perceived stigma, and their emotional and psychological well-being. Regression analyses revealed that the severity of a parent’s alcoholism predicted all three types of stigma for females, but not for males. In addition, family topic avoidance about alcohol predicted all types of stigma for males and discrimination stigma and positive aspect stigma for females. With few exceptions, the three types of stigma predicted depressive symptoms, self-esteem, and resilience for both male and female adult children of alcoholics. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for promoting a family environment that mitigates stigma and encourages emotional and psychological well-being.
Marie Haverfield and Jennifer Theiss. "Parent’s alcoholism severity and family topic avoidance about alcohol as predictors of perceived stigma among adult children of alcoholics: Implications for emotional and psychological resilience" Health Communication (2015): 606-616. doi:10.1080/10410236.2014.981665