‘I try hard not to blame my dad’: a sociological interpretation of the ‘problem’ with parental problem substance use

Greenwood, Sharon Margaret (2018) ‘I try hard not to blame my dad’: a sociological interpretation of the ‘problem’ with parental problem substance use. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.
Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b3330499


Research conducted over the past twenty years has demonstrated the impact of parental ‘problem’ substance use on the lives of young adults (Velleman & Orford, 1999; Bancroft et al, 2004; Järvinen, 2013). Despite this increased awareness, public policies continue to exclude this group. This research sought to explore the ‘problem’ with parental substance use from the perspective of affected young adults (aged 16 – 30). Additionally, this research sought to contribute a contemporary, sociological interpretation of the problem to a field dominated by psychological literature.

This research was undertaken from a feminist perspective, and involved a wide range of research methods: minimally structured interviews, participant observation, visual methods, and qualitative secondary data analysis. The accounts derived from these sources are complemented through the inclusion of autoethnographic, reflexive vignettes, where I situate myself – as someone with lived experience – in relation to the literature, the process of conducting research, and the data.

The data chapters presented respond to three key research questions. The first considers how young adults use different approaches and engage with dominant theoretical approaches to engage in processes of ‘making sense’ of parental substance use. Following this, Ketokivi’s (2010) perspective of ‘disruptive events’ – as based on Bury’s (1982) influential theory of ‘biographical disruption’ – is utilised as a route to considering the disruptive force of parental substance use in the lives of affected young adults. Finally, the last data chapter employs Emerson’s (2015) ‘personal troubles’ framework, in conjunction with the concept of ‘candidacy’ (Dixon-Woods et al, 2006; Mackenzie et al, 2015) to consider how young people respond and react to the ‘problem’.

In conclusion, this thesis argues for adopting a relational interpretation of the ‘problem’ of parental substance use. Furthermore, this research presents a strong case for considering the ways in which disciplinary and methodological boundaries are blurred. This research contributes to contemporary debates in wider bodies of work within the sociologies of substance use, youth, families, relationships, and intimacy. It concludes by making recommendations for the development of policy and practice, and highlighting potential avenues for further research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Substance use, young people, family, relationships, support, young adulthood, alcohol, drugs, qualitative research, autoethnography.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Funder's Name: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Supervisor's Name: Pickering, Dr. Lucy, Mackenzie, Professor Mhairi and Barlow, Mrs. Joy
Date of Award: 2018
Embargo Date: 1 December 2028
Depositing User: Dr Sharon Greenwood
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-30923
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2018 15:52
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2024 08:53
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/30923

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