Stress and strain: a qualitative study into the impact of having relatives with addiction problems on students’ health and daily lives

    Publication of Innovations in Care

    D.M. Namen,van, V. Knapen, A.L. Staa,van, H. Vries,de, S.R. Hilberink, G.E. Nagelhout | Article | Publication date: 08 July 2023
    Purpose To explore the impact of having relatives with addiction problems on students’ health, substance use, social life, and cognitive functioning, and to establish possible contributions of the participants’ gender, type of relationship, and type of addiction of the relative(s). Methods A qualitative, cross-sectional study of semi-structured interviews with thirty students from a University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands who had relatives with addiction problems. Results Nine major themes were identified: (1) violence; (2) death, illness, and accidents of relatives; (3) informal care; (4) perception of addiction; (5) ill health, use of alcohol and illegal drugs; (6) financial problems; (7) pressured social life; (8) affected cognitive functioning, and(9) disclosure. Conclusions Having relatives with addiction problems severely affected the life and health of participants. Women were more likely to be informal carers, to experience physical violence, and to choose a partner with addiction problems than men. Conversely, men more often struggled with their own substance use. Participants who did not share their experiences reported more severe health complaints. It was impossible to make comparisons based on the type of relationship or type of addiction because participants had more than one relative or addiction in the family.

    Author(s) - affiliated with Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences

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