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Effect of Divorce on Substance Abuse

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Introduction

Divorce is usually hard for married couples, however, frequently it is even more difficult for teens in families. They cannot understand what is happening in a grown-up avenue and, as an outcome, are affected academically, psychologically and emotionally. It is not unusual for a teen to alter his/her appearance on the universe or even his/her character in rejoinder to parents’ divorce. As an outcome, when their guardians divorce, it can actually affect them greatly. Guardians should be comprehensive, reassuring, and never say adverse things concerning their former partners in front of their children.

Anyone undergoing a substance abuse predicament must consider seeking for treatment. Long terms of abusing prescription drugs, illegal drugs, or alcohol can be distressing. If you are enthusiastically using them while undergoing a scheduled divorce, it will be particularly essential for you to pursue assistance. Moments of austere emotional depression and distress can increase abuse. This paper seeks to determine the effect of divorce on various substance abuses.

Research Question

Every divorce can lead to drug abuse. Therefore, this paper approaches the following question: What are the effects of divorce on substance abuse?

Literature Review

Teenagers, who are caught in the middle of a divorce, are more likely to abuse alcohol and other substances, in order to cope with the changes in their environment. They are looking for a way to escape whereby they can create a synthetic reality that has no pain. However, the reality is that the pain does not go away but intensifies. According to the Adolescent Health of National Longitudinal Mockup backed by the project of Mapping America, adolescent children of divorced parents are notably more prone to drugs rather than teens, whose parents are together (Ahrons, 1994). 

Many children have to endure a difficult life in the aftermath of a divorce. They are left with emotions that they have never felt, yet alone, and not knowing how to deal with it. These children are forced to live in a routine of absentee fathers, depressed mothers, different schools and subjected to making new friends. Adapting to a new environment is always difficult for a child and it creates an opportunity for abusing drugs, alcohol and other substances. These teenagers are, in a way, grieving the death of a family they used to know. They need a positive outlet for these emotions instead of relying on the temporary relief that drugs and alcohol give them.

According to Mtengeti-Migiro (1990), any divorce affects the psychological development of a child into adulthood. It affects the view that a child has on a healthy parent-child relationship and also leads to negative ways of handling a conflict. It affects teenagers’ logic of masculinity or femininity. Future effects of divorce can cause difficulty in dating and marriage and increase rates of divorce. Such teenagers turn into adults who are afraid to get married and/or have children of their own, because of the fear that they will also experience the pain of divorce.

Depression is very common amongst victims of divorce. The changes in their life can become difficult to bear and frustration may lead to abuse of drugs and alcohol. Feelings of uncertainty and sadness are usually the driving forces whereby parents as well as children fall into a pattern of drug abuse. It is only through counseling that the family can find healthy coping mechanisms to these feelings (Masheter, 1997).

Effects of Divorce on Teen Drug Use

Kurdek (1991), highlights that more than 40% of all children will experience a divorce in their family. This means that nearly half of the children in America will witness more than one divorce in their lifetime. It is already seen that a child whose parents are experiencing divorce is 3 times more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than the one whose parents are still married. The effects of divorce on a child cannot be ignored (Kurdek, 1991).

What if a family cannot prevent a divorce? What can they do to ensure a healthy transition for their children? The National Institute of Mental Health conducted a study that found teenagers of divorced families, who participated in family programs, were up to 50% less likely to engage in drug abuse and suffer from depression, than those not involved. These programs provide vital counseling services that assist the families in dealing with divorce.

Children witness all the pain and anguish no matter how hard parents try to hide it. They are able to sense tension and anger and see their parents having dilemmas. Most of the times they blame themselves for their parents’ quarrels, and what makes it worse, is that parents are often busy going through their own emotional mayhem and cannot cater their needs. At this point, they are very vulnerable to whoever gives them attention, which opens the doorway not only to drug abuse but sexual abuse as well.

Loss and Grief Interposes to Drug Addiction

Amato P. R. (1994), argues that loss is an emotion that we must all experience all through the progression of our lives. Every loss, including divorce, is subjected to the complementary wave of grief. There are different stages of grief and the first one is always a denial. This stage  in divorce is filled with rebelliousness, especially concerning teenagers, who go through a phase of trying to get attention from their parents. It is characterized by acts of pure defiance such as alcohol and drug abuse, where a child wants to make his/her parents pay by inflicting the same amount of emotional pain they feel. They begin to experiment with whatever drugs are available to them and also by defying the law through shoplifting and drunk driving (Amato, 1994).

Increased use of drugs and alcohol

Divorce increases the likelihood that children will engage in alcohol and drug abuse. Children who grow up in families that experience conflicts, go through emotions that they are unable to deal with. It is only through counseling strategies that we can be able to ensure that drug abuse in teenagers who are experiencing divorce is nipped at the bud (Arendell, 1995). 

Methodology

Research Design

The Research design section discusses the way in which the subjects and constituents are organized and observed for the purpose of achieving the earlier listed objectives. Hussey (2006) traditionally categorized them as either Questionnaire or observation.

Purposes of the Study

The researcher will establish the purpose for conducting this research before explaining the mode of collecting data. According to Neuman (2000: 21) and Yin (2003: 3), the purpose of conducting research can either be Exploratory, Descriptive or Explanatory. Exploratory research is conducted when the research issues have very few or no earlier studies for infering information. ‘Why’ and ‘How’ questions are more usual within exploratory researches and in most times require the use of case studies, observation and historical data. This type of research formulates questions and open an access to new phenomena for future researches. Basically, it needs to be undertaken by the researcher in order to understand the problem in detail. It does not confirm or test hypothesis but aims for pattern searching, ideas and hypotheses and suggests direction for future research (Yin 2003:22; Hussey and Hussey 1997; Neuman 2000). Exploratory researchers often take an investigative stance and are expected to be creative, open-minded and flexible in their sources of information.

Descriptive research is undertaken to describe the related variables of the problem. It aims at finding more information about particular phenomenon and provides accurate representation of an already present phenomenon, events or situation (Collis and Hussy, 2009). Descriptive study goes further than exploratory in investigating the phenomena by using more statistical data to demonstrate and to summarize results. Here, the Researcher is less concerned about exploring new issues or explaining why something happens and than describing how things are. This answers mostly the ‘what’ research question. Hypothesis testing attempts to understand the phenomena more than descriptive analysis by examining and explaining causal or correlation relationships between the variables of the phenomena. It also tries to examine the causal relationships among the variables of the study.

Explanatory research builds on findings from exploratory and descriptive research to identify the reasons behind the already identified phenomena. Compared to the previous two research purposes, the field of inquiry is substantially focused, as it goes beyond identifying the phenomena of interest (as in exploratory research) or describing it (as in descriptive research) in order to look for detailed causes and reasons. Explanatory Research involves studying, analyzing and explaining the reasons behind an existing why or how phenomenon in order to measure, discover and explain the relationship that exists between them. The earlier stated research problem and objectives of this proposal indicate that this thesis is primarily a descriptive one.

The explanatory research purpose is also not appropriate as it is unclear from extant literatures. These three elements interact much less and extend any existing theories on any presumed phenomena in question. However, descriptive research is undertaken to describe the related variables of this work; it aims to find more information about particular phenomenon. The hypotheses formulated will be tested by examining and explaining causal or correlational relationships between the variables of the phenomena; it also tries to examine the causal relationships among the variables of the study

The researchers will complete multiple testing within the study itself.  A quasi-experimental design will be used between four divorced families.  Within the families, there will be a treatment group and a control group.  The four families will be broke down into two groups of two.  The first group will contain large urban families. To define the word large in departments, the researchers will look at departments containing 1,000 to 2,000 family members.  The second group will be looking at smaller departments (i.e. rural departments) with 200 to 400 family members.  The reasoning for the separate groupings is to see, if there are any differences between the family styles.  At the onset of the study, surveys will be sent to the participating agencies.  The survey will consist of questions related to the divorcee and the effect on abuse from the addicts’ daily lives.  From the sampling sizes, two sets of 50 family members will be chosen randomly from the members in the study.  At the culmination of the six month period, the previous survey will again be sent to the agencies to validate the findings once the study has been completed.  Conversely, the control group will be randomly assigned from the remaining members that will continue the normal family relationship that the agency is currently using.  These officers will also complete the surveys as the treatment addicts do.  The longitudinal study will be completed over approximately nine months to allow compiling of the data received.  The target population in this study includes family departments finding economic and budget restraints due to monetary cutbacks.  The family members in the study will not be subjected to any extra harm than are already accustomed to, due to the profession they are in.  Therefore, the researchers will not have a need to keep this at the forefront of the study.  Finally, to assist with attrition even though it is not believed to be a problem, members who complete the study with the final survey will be given a $50 as a payment for their time and assistance with the study. 

Data Analysis

Before analyzing data, it will be processed to eliminate unusable data and interpret answers which would be ambiguous and contradictory. Later, the information will be coded and stored electronically. The statistic package for social sciences (SPSS) will be used to analyzing.

The data will be analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively to make deductions, interpretations, conclusions and possible recommendations. Quantitative data will be elicited from the close ended questions in the questionnaires where means, frequencies, and percentages will be computed. The data will be presented in tables, charts and graphs. Qualitative data will be obtained from the open ended sections of the questionnaires and interviews. The data will be also summarized and presented in the forms of tables in books, where quotations for respondents will be cited. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) will be used to test the hypothesis at the 0.5 level of significance.

Research Ethics

Ethics in research is a very important measure to consider, especially in cases where the methodology involves the participation of human beings. This research intends to study the response of human beings concerning the impact of increased drug abuse measures in divorced families’ process in the fore mentioned parties, using in-depth interviews as means of primary data collection. Ethics entails appropriate behavior in relation to the rights and freedoms of the participants in the study. Therefore, the researcher will seek ethics approval before the study commences.

The researcher intends to secure informed consent from the participants prior the study. First of all, the researcher will carry out introductions to the participants. The respondents need to know the biographic, as well as the professional background of the researcher. This will help the respondents to know how to contact the researcher just in case there is a need to. Moreover, semi-structured in-depth interviews require that the researcher operates at almost a personal level with the respondents, to ensure that they feel free to give information. Secondly, the respondents will be informed about the study. This will include the research topic, the reason for carrying out the research, the respondents’ role in the research, and the significance of the resulting data. Thirdly, in-depth interviews with divorced families can involve sensitive information that the respondents may not be willing to give out. For the purpose of assurance, the confidentiality of the respondent’s feedback is considered. Anonymity will be used in which the respondents’ real names will be replaced by alphabetical letters, for instance teacher A, parent C, teens B and so on. Fourthly, the respondents’ participation is purely out of willingness and choice.

No respondent will be forced to participate in the study, and only those who have voluntarily agreed will be considered. Moreover, the respondents will be given the choice to quit the participation if it is out of their own interest. Alternatively, they can choose not to answer questions that they are not obliged to. This warrants that the researcher needs to be cautious when probing the respondents for answers. It should not get to uncomfortable levels; neither should the respondents feel that they were force to give out information that they would rather not. Observing ethics is very important as it enhances the credibility and moral value of the research. Additionally, it avoids certain drawbacks like law suits, which can affect the success of the research.

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