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  • 1.
    Siljeholm, Ola
    et al.
    Karolinska institutet; Stockholms läns sjukvårdsområde, Region Stockholm.
    Ekström, Veronica
    Marie Cederschiöld University, Department of Social Sciences.
    A shift in focus: Mothers’ descriptions of sharing a child with a co-parent with unhealthy alcohol use after participating in a support program2023In: Addiction science & clinical practice, ISSN 1940-0632, E-ISSN 1940-0640, Vol. 18, no 12Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background

    Unhealthy alcohol use (UAU) affects not only the drinking individual, but also significant others (SOs), such as partners and children. Most of the harm to others caused by alcohol can be attributed to common, moderate drinking patterns, but existing studies have mainly included SOs of individuals with severe UAU. There is a need for increased knowledge regarding SOs of individuals in an earlier stage of UAU and efficacious support programs for this group. The aims of this study were to investigate reasons for seeking support as described by SOs sharing a child with a co-parent with UAU and to investigate how SOs perceived effects of a web-based self-delivered support program.

    Methods

    A qualitative design conducting semi-structured interviews with 13 female SOs sharing a child with a co-parent with UAU. The SOs were recruited from a randomized controlled trial of the web-based program and had completed at least two of four modules in the program. Transcribed interviews were analyzed using conventional qualitative content analysis.

    Results

    Regarding reasons for seeking support, we created four categories and two subcategories. Main reasons were wanting validation/emotional support and coping strategies for handling the co-parent, and negative perceptions of available support options for SOs. Regarding perceived effects of the program, we created three categories and three subcategories. Main effects were an improved relationship to their children, increased own positive activities, and less adaptation to the co-parent, though SOs also mentioned what was perceived as missing in the program. We argue that the interviewees represent a population of SOs living with co-parents with slightly less severe UAU than previous studies and therefore provide new insights for future interventions.

    Conclusions

    The web-based approach with potential anonymity was important for facilitating support-seeking. Support for the SOs themselves and coping strategies for co-parent alcohol consumption were more common reasons for seeking help than worry about the children. For many SOs, the program was a first step in seeking further support. Spending more dedicated time with their children and being validated as living under stressful conditions were described by the SOs as particularly helpful.

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