Smyth, Nancy J.; Miller, Brenda A.
; Mudar, Pamela J.; and Skiba, David Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment
, vol. 7, issue 3/4, pgs. 37-58 (2003)In this study, difficulties that women with alcohol problems and victimization experiences might have protecting their children from victimization were investigated. Mothers of children (ages 3-17) were recruited from a longitudinal study of women, alcohol problems, and victimization; women came from alcohol treatment programs, battered women's shelters, mental health clinics, drinking and driving programs, and a random household sample. Hypothetical parenting scenarios were constructed to assess mothers' ability to protect their children from victimization trauma. Women's responses to the scenarios were analyzed thematically and coded. Next, coded responses were analyzed quantitatively to identify significant differences among women with past alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems, current AOD problems, and no AOD problems. Women with current AOD problems were more likely than women with no AOD problems and women with past AOD problems to provide aggressive responses to scenarios. Women with past AOD problems were more likely than their non-addicted counterparts to perceive sexual abuse as a possibility, to attribute responsibility for the problem to the other participant only (seeing no role for their child), and to seek information about what happened from the other participant only. Findings suggest that some interpersonal problem-solving difficulties resolve when women become sober while others persist into recovery, potentially affecting women's ability to protect their children.