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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 39-42

Perceptions of partner drinking problems, regulation strategies, and relationship outcomes


1 Postgraduate, Department of Psychiatry, Mamata Medical College, Khammam, Telangana, India
2 Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Mamata Medical College, Khammam, Telangana, India
3 Professor and HOD, Department of Psychiatry, Mamata Medical College, Khammam, Telangana, India
4 Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Mamata Medical College, Khammam, Telangana, India
5 Senior Resident, Department of Psychiatry, Mamata Medical College, Khammam, Telangana, India
6 Clinical Psychologist, Department of Psychiatry, Mamata Medical College, Khammam, Telangana, India

Date of Submission08-Feb-2020
Date of Decision22-Feb-2020
Date of Acceptance03-Feb-2020
Date of Web Publication03-Jul-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. C H Prashanth
Assistant professor, Department of Psychiatry, Mamata Medical College, Khammam, Telangana
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/AMH.AMH_10_20

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  Abstract 

Introduction: Alcohol use can have negative effects on the relationships, especially if the partner's drinking is perceived to be problematic. Interpersonal perceptions and associations between partners' perceptions of one another have important implications for the individuals comprising a relationship.
Aims and Objectives: The objective of this study was to assess the perceptions of partner drinking problems, regulation strategies, and relationship outcomes.
Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study consisted a sample size of 100 participants who are admitted for alcohol de-addiction in Mamata General Hospital, Khammam, Telangana, India. The samples were drawn using a convenience sampling method. Thinking about your partner's drinking (TPD) questionnaire and partner management strategies (PMS) questionnaire were the tools used to collect the data for this study.
Results: The results of the study were analyzed and evaluated using the mean, standard deviation and by obtaining the Pearson's correlation principle. The mean was obtained separately for PMS and TPD. Standard deviation (6.473, 5.268) was obtained from the values of the mean. P value was obtained (significance <0.0001).
Conclusions: The study determines the ideology of the Indian married couples and their perception toward the partner's drinking problem and their regulating attempts. Certain items from the questionnaire were not implacable in the study group such as pouring out drinks and suggesting alternatives to alcohol use. The results also strongly established that the compatibility of the partners to take up the additional burden of the families due to the partner's negligence and they feel embarrassed to get into the public and family gatherings because of the partner's uncontrolled behavior because of alcohol intake.

Keywords: Alcohol, partner management strategies, relationships


How to cite this article:
Rachakatla VK, Prashanth C H, R. Mallepalli PK, Babu RS, Narukurthi P, Sakamudi M. Perceptions of partner drinking problems, regulation strategies, and relationship outcomes. Arch Ment Health 2020;21:39-42

How to cite this URL:
Rachakatla VK, Prashanth C H, R. Mallepalli PK, Babu RS, Narukurthi P, Sakamudi M. Perceptions of partner drinking problems, regulation strategies, and relationship outcomes. Arch Ment Health [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Oct 24];21:39-42. Available from: https://www.amhonline.org/text.asp?2020/21/1/39/288911


  Introduction Top


Alcohol use is considered as a source of strain in marital relationships (Leonard and Eiden, 2007).[1] Substance use is the third most cited reason for divorce (Amato and Previti, 2003), and rates of separation and divorce are considerably higher among couples with an alcohol abusive or dependent partner (DiBello AM, 2016).[2] Research has shown that partners of chronic drinkers report increased rates of depression, anxiety, relationship distress, and more frequent reports of physical and emotional abuses (Fischer et al., 2005; Halford, Bouma, Kelly, and Young, 1999; Homish, Leonard, and Kearns-Bodkin, 2006; Leonard and Eiden, 2007; Leonard and Jacob, 1988; Leonard and Senchak, 1993, 1996; Maisto, McKay, and O'Farrell, 1998; and Murphy and O'Farrell, 1994).[3] There are many studies of anecdotal reports and research findings which show that individuals who are married to alcoholics have poor overall physical and mental health (e.g., Kokin and Walker, 1989; Orford, 1990; Wiseman, 1991).[4] Studies of clinical samples of alcoholics show that spouses are relatively more anxious, involved in lesser social activities, and go through more stressful life events.[5]

Research shows that alcohol use, in general, begins in early adolescence and continues to increase in the early 20s, with high rates of consumption around the ages of 21 or 22. During the middle to late 20s, consumption gradually begins to decreases and eventually stabilizes (Chen and Kandel, 1995).[6] This “marriage effect” has been stated in many cross-sectional, epidemiologic studies (Cahalanetalet al., 1969; Wilsnack et al., 1986).

In reaction to recognizing an emerging or underlying drinking problem, individuals who are concerned about the drinker may act by attempting strategies to abstain, switch, or control their partner's drinking pattern.[7] These attempts include the acts such as threatening to leave the partner, discriminating the partners when they are drink, withholding from intimate relationship and sexual acts, gathering all the family members, and exposing the partner's drinking problem so as to create an insight about his/her drinking patterns and its effect on the family and marital relations.

Previous studies show that even when controlling for one's problematic drinking, one's partner's self-reported problematic drinking predicts poorer relationship outcomes (e.g., Cranford, Floyd, Schulenberg, and Zucker, 2011). The current study is aimed to determine whether the regulation strategies by the partner to control the alcohol consumption are how far implemented among the Indian population and their effective outcomes in controlling them. The study also took into consideration the identification that one's partner needed treatment for his problematic alcohol drinking pattern.


  Materials and Methods Top


Thinking about your Partner's Drinking (TPD) Scale (Lindsey M. Rodriguez Addict Behav, 2013 December). Participants answered 26 items regarding their thoughts and perceptions of their partner's alcohol use. Participants gave their agreement on a 7-point rating scale (1 = Strongly Disagree, 7 = Strongly Agree).[7]

Partner management strategies (PMS) – attempts to change or regulate one's partner's drinking – were measured with the PMS scale. Participants answered to 19 items regarding behaviors which were supposed to modify their partner's alcohol use. Participants indicated how often they engaged in the strategies on a 7-point rating scale (1 = not at All, 7 = very often).[7]

Inclusions criteria for the study among the patients included the married couples, homemakers of male alcoholic patients, and participants willing to take part in the study. Exclusions criteria were unmarried patients, divorced and separated couples, and the participants not willing to take part in the study.

As nonmarital relationships are very rare in India, and the alcohol drinking pattern is very negligible in the place of study, we restrained our study to only the homemaker's of alcoholic dependence and withdrawal patients who came for the treatment in Mamata General Hospital, Khammam, Telangana, India. Homemaker's of the patients who are not willing to participate in the study were exempted. The sample was obtained from the partners after an informed oral consent regarding the study.


  Results Top


The results of the study were analyzed and evaluated using the mean, which shows that more is the thinking about the partner than the management strategies which were to an extent significantly less. Lower value of standard deviation obtained shows that the average participants in the study group were thinking about the partner's drinking problem, and the higher value for the management strategies shows how to disperse the regulation strategies are. These were obtained by the Pearson correlation principle. The mean was obtained separately for PMS and TPD and then compared. Standard deviation (6.473, 5.268) was obtained from the values of the mean. P value was obtained (significance < 0.0001). The results were analyzed using SPSS software version 21 (IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Armonk, NY: IBM Corp).

This scattered diagram above [Figure 1] represents that the more the thinking about the drinking of the partners, the regulation strategies were also to a higher extent; these strategies included both punishment and reward strategies, which were effective in controlling the partner's intake of alcohol. The x-axis shows the sum of the responses of the regulation strategies and the y-axis shows the sum of the few responses from the items in the thinking about partners' drinking questionnaire and were compared with the regulation strategies.
Figure 1: Scattered diagram showing the relationship between the partner managment strategies and thinking about partners drinking. *X-Partner management strategies-PMS, *Y-Thinking about partner's drinking-TPD

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[Table 1] shows that the mean for both PMS and thinking about the partner's drinking with their standard deviations was obtained. The P = 0.0001 which was statistically significant.
Table 1: The comparison between the responses for both the thinking about partner's drinking and partner management strategies items

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  Discussion Top


The more the partner was thinking about the drinking pattern, the regulation strategies were also in the significant levels [Table 2]. If taken into consideration from the questions in the sample obtained, many of the partners (Homemaker of the individual in the current study modified as per the Indian scenario and as per the cultural backgrounds in the current place of study) who felt that their partners (husbands here as) drinking was a source of strain in the marital relationship considered regulating their pattern of alcohol intake by either punishment strategies or the rewarding strategies whichever was effective in motivating the patient for pushing themselves to seek the medical help for deaddiction from the alcohol use. Punishment strategies [Table 3] such as emotionally pleading the partner to change the over drinking pattern or either by criticizing them for alcohol use. Some of the partners used rewarding strategies [Table 4] such as explaining to them how much they appreciate the quality time, they spent with the family whenever the partner does not take alcohol.
Table 2: The responses for certain variables from the thinking about partner's drinking questionnaire

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Table 3: The responses for certain variables from the partner management strategies questionnaire

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Table 4: The responses for certain variables from the partner management strategies questionnaire

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Similar studies from the previous research (Lindsey M. Rodriguez, Angelo M. DiBello 2013 December) also focused on how individuals try to deal with a partner who is drinking problematically. It also has stated that problem drinking by one or both partners in a relationship can show an impact on the relationship, impacting trust, satisfaction, and commitment.

These reward strategies, though they did not show a significant effect, did not show a prominent improvement in the change of the relationship outcome; it further showed an impact to again crave more alcohol intake. The current study in several ways adds to the previous existing studies by showing that the PMS and regulation attempts were effective to a certain extent. As it was evident that relationship dissatisfaction was a factor to motivate toward drinking, but effective management by implementing punishment strategies is capable to an extent in controlling the partner's intake. Reward items did not show the impact as prominently as the few punishment strategies. The present study also rules out that considering one's partner's drinking as problematic did not affect the marriage relationship to the extent of leaving the partner even though they threatened to do so. All the participants in the study were ready to take up the consequences and handle the extra burden that would be upon them because of the drinking pattern of the partner.

The drinking pattern of the partner has significantly interfered with the sex life of the partners, and they also do not feel intimacy with their partner because of their drinking pattern. As previous studies stated that if their partners' drinking was not problematic, their marital relationship would be much happier.


  Conclusions Top


The existing studies provided new measures to assess the parameters that are essential for determining the role of one's perceptions in the association between alcohol use and relationship outcomes. Results showed practical evidence for PMS (e.g., avoid punishing strategies).[7]

The study adds to the existing studies by determining the ideology of the Indian married couples and their perception toward the partners' drinking problem and their regulating attempts. Certain items from the questionnaire were not implacable in the study group such as pouring out drinks and suggesting alternatives to alcohol use. Results also strongly established the compatibility of the partners to take up the additional burden of the families due to the partner's negligence and they feeling embarrassed to get into the public and family gatherings because of the partner's uncontrolled behavior because of alcohol intake.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Leonard KE, Eiden RD. Marital and family processes in the context of alcohol use and alcohol disorders. Annu Rev Clin Psychol 2007;3:285-310.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Rodriguez LM, DiBello AM, Wickham R. Regulation strategies mediate associations between heavy drinking and relationship outcomes in married couples. Addict Behav 2016;54:64-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Amato PR, Rogers SJ. A longitudinal study of marital problems and subsequent divorce. Journal of Marriage and the Family 1997:612-24.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Homish GG, Leonard KE, Kearns-Bodkin JN. Alcohol use, alcohol problems, and depressive symptomatology among newly married couples. Drug Alcohol Depend 2006;83:185-92.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Daniels D, Moos RH. Assessing life stressors and social resources among adolescents: Applications to depressed youth. J Adolesc Res 1990;5:268-89.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Chen K, Kandel DB. The natural history of drug use from adolescence to the mid-thirties in a general population sample. American journal of public health. 1995;85:41-7.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Rodriguez LM, DiBello AM, Neighbors C. Perceptions of partner drinking problems, regulation strategies and relationship outcomes. Addict Behav 2013;38:2949-57.  Back to cited text no. 7
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]



 

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   Materials and Me...
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