Few interventions support the affected other on their own: a systematic review of individual level psychosocial interventions to support those harmed by others’ alcohol use

G. W. Shorter*, K. B. D. Campbell, N. M. Miller, T. Epton, L. O'Hara, S. Millen, K. Ulfsdotter Gunnarsson, E. Berry, M. Bendtsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
62 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Over 100 million individuals worldwide experience negative outcomes as a function of a family member or loved one’s substance use. Other reviews have summarized evidence on interventions; however, success often depends on the behavior of the individual causing harm, and they may not be ready or able to change. The aim of this study was to identify and describe evaluations of psychosocial interventions which can support those affected by alcohol harm to others independent of their drinking relative or friend. A systematic review/narrative synthesis of articles from 11 databases pre-registered on PROSPERO (CRD42021203204) was conducted. Those experiencing the harm were spouses/partners or adult children/students who have parents with alcohol problems. Studies (n = 7) were from the UK, the USA, Korea, Sweden, Mexico, and India. Most participants were female (71–100%). Interventions varied from guided imagery, cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and anger management. Independent interventions may support those affected by another’s alcohol use, although there was considerable variation in outcomes targeted by the intervention design. Small-scale studies suggest psychosocial interventions ease suffering from alcohol’s harm to others, independent of the drinking family member. Understanding affected others’ experience and need is important given the impact of alcohol’s harm to others; however, there is a lack of quality evidence and theoretical underpinning informing strategies to support these individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
Early online date22 May 2023
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 22 May 2023

Keywords

  • affected other
  • alcohol
  • psychosocial intervention
  • systematic review
  • family
  • harm to others

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