Personality characteristics of adult children of alcoholic parents

Margaret Rose Paccione-Dyszlewski, Fordham University

Abstract

The present study was designed to investigate whether the personalities of adult children of alcoholics differ in some way from individuals who do not have an alcoholic parent. Women (N = 122) were divided into an adult children of alcoholic parents group (ACAP, n = 61) and an adult children of nonalcoholic parents group (ACNP, n = 61) based on their score on the Children of Alcoholics Screening Test. Subjects reporting either a history of substance abuse or a current alcohol dependence problem were eliminated from the study. Subjects were then administered the primary research instrument, the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16 PF). The factors under investigation were warmth (A), ego strength (C), dominance (E), superego strength (G), protension (L), shrewdness (N), guilt proneness (O), and ergic tension (Q4).^ The findings of the study are based on the results of several statistical procedures. In order to determine the degree to which the personality factors under investigation were related, Pearson correlation coefficients were computed for the combined groups. Results indicated significant relationships between the following cluster of five factors: ego strength (C), dominance (E), protension (L), guilt proneness (O), and ergic tension (Q4). A MANOVA revealed a statistically significant difference between the ACAP group and the ACNP group. Univariate results of the eight factors produced statistically significant differences between the ACAP group and the ACNP group on two factors, guilt proneness (O) and ergic tension (Q4). Children of alcoholics were more likely to be guilt prone and tense.^ As the result of the conventional predictive methods suggested a dichotomy between the ACAP and the ACNP groups, clustering strategies were applied to examine more specific group placement. Results of the various procedures strongly supported the suggestion of a dichotomy between the groups by producing a highly statistically significant cluster solution to the group placement of subjects by clustering methods. Both the results of the conventional predictive methods and the clustering strategies provide empirical support for the assumption that the experience of having an alcoholic parent in some systematic way influences the personality development of an adult exposed to this experience in a way that is demonstrably and reliably different from the personality development of an adult not exposed to this experience. Results are discussed and directions for further research are proposed. ^

Subject Area

Education, Educational Psychology|Psychology, General|Psychology, Personality

Recommended Citation

Margaret Rose Paccione-Dyszlewski, "Personality characteristics of adult children of alcoholic parents" (January 1, 1992). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI9304523.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9304523

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