Author(s): Tempier R, Boyer R, Lambert J, Mosier K, Duncan CR
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Abstract The consequences of alcoholism on the mental health of spouses of lifetime at-risk drinkers are only known from studies on alcoholics already in treatment. A retrospective analysis was conducted using data from a Quebec community health survey. The purpose of this study was twofold. First, our goal was to ascertain the mental health of female spouses living with a male lifetime at-risk drinker. Secondly, we wanted to examine the relationship between male lifetime at-risk drinkers (aged 30-54 years) and the psychological distress of their nondrinking female spouses. Lifetime at-risk drinking, for the purposes of this study, was defined as having at least two positive answers to the CAGE questionnaire. Couples wherein both spouses were deemed not at-risk for problem drinking by the CAGE instrument (0 or 1 positive answer) formed the control group. Psychological distress was measured using the Indice de Détresse Psychologique de l'Enquête Santé Québec (Préville, M., Boyer, R., Potvin, L., Perreault, C., & Légaré, G. (1992). La détresse psychologique: détermination de la fiabilité et de la validité de la mesure utilisée dans l'enquête Santé Québec. Cahier de recherches #7, Montréal, Santé Québec.). It measures symptoms of anxiety, depression, aggressivity, and cognitive impairments. Scores of >or=22 (out of 100) were indicative of a high level of psychological distress. This study confirmed higher levels of psychological distress in female spouses of male lifetime at-risk drinkers in the general population. An exploratory study examined the association between the psychological distress of female spouses and each of the following nine independent variables: male partner lifetime at-risk drinker, stressful life events, job situation, socioeconomic status, perceived health status, presence of children less than 15 years, length of the marital relationship, presence of a confidant, and availability of social support. Lifetime at-risk drinking is a risk factor for the spouse's psychological distress. An examination of the demographic characteristics related to alcohol intake in male lifetime at-risk drinkers is also described in this study.
This article was published in Alcohol
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy