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Keywords:

  • alcohol abuse;
  • alcohol drinking;
  • characteristics of women with alcohol problems;
  • mixed methods design;
  • mood disorders;
  • parent–child relations;
  • paternal alcoholism;
  • qualitative method;
  • risk factors

Scand J Caring Sci; 2010; 24; 472–481 Moods and expectancies of female alcohol drinking – an exploratory study

Gaining access to information concerning mood states and expectations of change preceding a typical drinking occasion is important for understanding the trigger factors for drinking, and for alcohol abuse treatment planning. The objective of the present study was twofold: (i) to explore self-reported states of mood and expectancies preceding a typical drinking occasion vs. relations with parents and drinking outcome; and (ii) to investigate if vulnerability factors in terms of personality and health are related to severity of alcohol problems. The population consisted of 50 women attending a Swedish alcohol clinic. Semi-structured interviews were conducted. A mixed-methods design was used encompassing qualitative interview-data and quantitative data from questionnaires and medical journals. Nine out of ten patients had a diagnosis of alcohol dependence, and four out of five had parents with dependency problems. As compared to a female norm group, the patients displayed significantly higher anxiety-related traits and irritability. Moods were described by patients as mostly negative and expectancies of change were evenly distributed between reducing, enhancing or flight from feeling. An expectancy of flight when drinking was also related to a positive relation to mother. The findings pointed to the need for differentiating between coping with and expectancies of drinking. Further, a hierarchical cluster analysis resulted in two groups, indicating one group characterized by higher risk values on personality scales and more severe consequences of drinking. The contribution of a treatment design informed through a gender and culture perspective to treatment outcome was discussed.