Encounters with service professionals experienced by children from families with alcohol problems: A qualitative interview study

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Anne Werner, Kirsti Malterud

Aim: The aim of this study was to explore encounters with service professionals experienced in childhood and adolescence by children who grew up with parental alcohol abuse. We focused on their accounts from situations indicating children’s struggles or parental drinking problems.
Methods: Semi-structured qualitative interview study was conducted with retrospective data from nine adults. Systematic text condensation was used to understand childhood experiences from encounters with professionals.
Results: Participants believed that professionals rarely recognised their parents’ drinking problems. The children felt abandoned by professionals who must have noticed their struggles. Participants experienced that their appearance or behaviour was ignored and that they were not invited to talk. Professionals taking part in individual family members’ problems seemed to avoid subsequent involvement in underlying parental drinking. Even when problems were obvious, participants felt that professionals took no further action. Medical and social problems were managed within very confined perspectives.
Conclusions: Specific commitment to confront cultural taboos is needed to attend to children’s unmet needs. Recognising each young person’s situation implies not only noticing that something is wrong, but also taking action. Children’s experiences of fragmented and confined approaches towards parental drinking problems may be counteracted by better collaboration between teachers, school nurses and GPs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Public Health
Volume44
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)663-670
Number of pages8
ISSN1403-4948
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016

ID: 172992429