Document Type


Publication Date

January 2014

Publication Title

Journal of Family Studies


Growing up with an alcoholic parent can have a lasting effect on children and contribute to a variety of challenging outcomes in adulthood. This study identified the various experiences that adult children of alcoholics (ACoA) discuss with their peers in online support groups. Trained coders conducted a thematic analysis of 504 message board posts collected over a period of 60 days from three different online support groups to identify issues that children of alcoholics face in adulthood. Seven themes emerged from the analysis: (a) empowerment through support, (b) interference of parent in adulthood, (c) connection to inner child and need to re-parent, (d) low self-esteem and insecurity, (e) anger and resentment, (f) romantic relationship problems, and (g) problems communicating. The results of this study provide insight into the issues that ACoA need to address as part of their own recovery and suggest avenues of exploration for practitioners who work with high-risk families.


This is the Submitted Manuscript of an article that appeared in the Journal of Family Studies. The Version of Record (VOR) may be found at:
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