Growing Up With An Alcohol-Dependent Father: Understanding Lived Experience Through Intepretative Phenomenological Analysis
K. McNaught, 2011, dissertation.doc (172Kb)
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McNaught, Kirsty, R.
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This study uses IPA (interpretative phenomenological analysis) to explore how paternal alcoholism impacts the child’s experience of life. Due to an abundance of quantitative research on ACOAs (adult children of alcoholics), this study aims to bring meaningful, real-life accounts to the current literature. Five ACOAs were interviewed and the subsequent analyses found three consistent themes across all the transcripts: Grieving lost identity of father and lost father-child relationship through mixed emotions; Forming sacrificial, compensatory or caring roles to care for dad (and the family), or earn his love; Rescue by a compensatory father-figure. These results are then considered in relation to relevant literature. The existence of a ‘father-shaped hole’ is explored, following idea that our participants’ father’s failures through alcoholism not only forced them into certain roles in the family, but also set them in search of a compensatory father-figure. Transcript extracts and subsequent analyses add deeper insight into the lived experience of paternal alcoholism, bolstering scientific research with powerful stories and real relationships.