Sample Essay Paper on Familial Risk Factors Promoting Drug Addiction Onset

Familial Risk Factors Promoting Drug Addiction Onset


Drug addiction is one of the major health problems facing the modern society. This has been attributable to the easy acquisition of addictive substances and drugs, and the inability of different stakeholders in the society to conduct effective drug awareness campaigns. Family members of these addicts are the most affected by the addiction. In addition, these families are often required to cope with the inability of their members to cope and act in an effective and efficient manner as required by the society (Stattin & Kerr, 2000). These families often find it difficult to effectively inculcate essential family values due to the transformation of the family structure. The traditional values of families are the modernized values resulting from drug addiction. The main objective of this paper is to conduct an analysis on the role that familial risks play in promoting drug addiction onset.

Literature review

The process of studying and understanding the role of the family on matters related to drug addiction does not require the isolation of the family but the understanding that it has an instrumental role to play as part of the community that is engaged in constant interaction with those facing addiction challenges (Georgas, 2006). Other than the family, there are also societal factors that can be used in understanding the role of other factors such as cultural orientation, generic disposition and factors related to personality development (NIDA, 2003). Georgas (2006) uses the approach by Talcott Parsons to understand the role of primary and secondary agents of socialization in favoring or minimizing the possibility of drug addiction onset. According to Georgas, the family, being the primary agent has a role to play in socializing the child into acceptable family norms and values. the attitude developed by the child from the family often influences the possibility tha the said child will interact with the external society in ways that will promote of diminish his or her ability to engage in productive of or destructive aspects of behavior. This will be influenced by social aspects that emanate from other socialization agents including peers and schools. In terms of the sociopathological effects of familial factors, Stattin and Kerr (2000) argue that factors such as alcohol abuse, child molestation, domestic violence and neglect among others play an essential role in determining the primary cause of psychological issues and the possibility that the affected person will be engaged in risky behavior such as drug abuse that could lead them into addictive complications.

In other studies there is evidence that most addicts often emanates from over protective mothers who contribute to these problem by engaging in numerous attempts to favor their  children over other children in the society. In addition, through over protection mother often tend to ignore the possibility that their children can be engaged in behaviors which are socially destructive. In addition, the fathers to such addicts are projected as a weak and distant or aggressively brutal, alcoholic and unapproachable (Georgas, 2006). Children raised from such a family often suffered from psychological complications and stresses related to the inability of their parents to provide the necessary protection and guidance on matters related to their upbringing and social wellbeing. Such children perceive drug abuse as the only alternative to their problems hence increasing the percentage of addictive population with family factors as major contributors to their challenges (Georgas, 2006).

Substance and drug addiction usually peaks during the adolescents. According to NIDA (1999) this challenge is associated with poor parenting and surveillance skills, parent-child conflicts and high tendencies of denial especially among mother concerning the possibility tha their children can be involved in drug related activities. These factors are therefore associated with the development of negligence among parents which often results in the onset of deviant behavior in children (Stattin & Kerr, 2000). Studies by Stattin and Kerr (2000) also provide evidence that there exists a relationship between poor parenting skills and criminal behavior which is an indication of drug abuse. Deliquescent children often develop poor communication abilities with their parents and this minimizes the possibility that a strong bond of association will be developed between a parent and a child hence increasing the possibility that the child will be easily influenced by other agents of socialization within the society.

            The responsibility of a parent encompasses the ability to ensure adequate social, physical, and psychological development of a child. However, poor inter-parental relations often affect the psychological development of a child (Stattin & Kerr, 2000). This is because constant marital conflicts often minimize the possibility that the child will have adequate capacity to react of sociological factors. In addition, it is also leads to the possibility that the child will develop risky behavior which in most cases leads to their involvement in drug abuse whose eventuality is the development of addictive tendencies (Georgas, 2006).

Research methodology

Research question

What are the developmental, interaction and social familial factors that favor drug addiction onset?

Research design

The study employed the use of the qualitative and quantitative approach in realizing research objectives. Structured questionnaires will be used during the quantitative research. In order to understand the emotive aspects involved in matters related to the study, the questions were largely qualitative. This is because they made reference to the dynamics that are often invited in understanding different socio-demographic aspects that affect the family in relation to the development of addictive behavior.

Sampling strategy

Stratified sampling was used during the study in the participants’ identification and selection which comprised of an addict group and a control group. Stratified sampling enabled standardization and the selection of participants on the basis of numerous socio-demographic features such as age, sex, location of residence, education level, education background and place of birth. The study sampled 164 addicts and 134 control subjects.

Data collection procedures

The study used questionnaires to collect data from the addicts and the members of the control groups. Only those addicts who had completed their therapy were allowed to participate in the study. For both parties the study used self-administered questionnaires as a data collection tool. This allowed for the minimization of the researcher’s involvement in the collection of data.  

Data analysis techniques

Data from the study was analyzed through the use of descriptive and parametric statistics. The descriptive approach to analysis of data was used in assessing the outcome of the variables in the two mutually comparable groups that were involved in the study. This was aimed at understanding the correlation or its absence in the findings from the study. The use of parametric statistics was used as an approach which was essential in validating the interaction. In developing an understanding on the possible effects of the interrelations between the variables during correlation analysis, the study used a nonparametric statistical methodology. In terms of statistical analysis the study found relevance in using SPSS, statistical software which is essential in understanding the relationship between variables.

Ethical considerations

The problem of consent was considered as major ethical issue since in some situations it was possible to argue that drug addicts undergoing therapy were not psychologically prepared to participate in a study.  One way by which the study solved this challenge was by ensuring that all the addicts in the study had completed their acute therapy sessions which were influential in determining their psychological capability.

Another essential ethical issue during the study was in regards to the privacy and confidentiality of the information given out by the participants in the research. To tackle this, the study was carried out using the anonymous participant approach. The identities of the participants were kept secret. They were given number codes as forms of identity while the data were kept in safe locker to prevent unauthorized access.

The issue of voluntary participation was also addressed through the provision of a cover letter that explained to the participants their role in the study and the type and limit of information that they to provide during the period of research. Participants were given the liberty to terminate their participation in the research at any point out of their own volition. This ensured that participation in the interview was out of free will and between willing parties.

Results and discussion

According to the findings of the study, there were numerous familial risk factors which largely emanated from the burden imposed on families that had a substantial effect on the development of deviant psychological disorders such as drug addiction. This was relatively heavier in comparison to burden of  the families of non-addicts whose situation remained relatively unchanged throughout their childhood and adolescents years. A dysfunctional family among addicts predisposed many of the addicts to psychological disorders. Through such families it was possible that from the early years, such children faced the possibility of being separated from either of their parents. From a psychological perspective, this increases their vulnerability and possibility that they will develop deviant behavior. This is an indication that such children often emanate from families characterized by in constant conflicts between parents along with other factors such as divorce of the possibility of the death of a parent. When these experiences arise in early childhood years they are more likely to have a lasting impact on the wellbeing of the child especially on matters related to the development of psychological trauma and stress. Unresolved psychological trauma and stress in childhood may affect personality development among children and this may hinder normal psychological functioning.

The type and level of emotional relationship and communication between children and their parents during their childhood largely influences the possibility that a child will develop deviant behavior in his adolescents or adulthood. Children and individuals who suffer from addiction complications report the existence of negative communication and the absence of emotional relationship with their parents. The most pronounced relationship was between the children and their fathers. Fathers who have a tendency of isolation, alcoholism and harshness in their relationship with their children often affect the type of personality and the level of psychological stress that their children develop. In addition, through an imbalance between the ways mother and fathers related to their children, the families develop complication on the best techniques that they can use to ensure effective discipline among their children. The absence of such a mechanism provides children with freedom of engaging in deviant behavior without the possibility of retribution for their parents. The development of such behavior is further enhanced by other factors such as peer groups and other secondary agents of socialization. This is a revelation on the importance of the father figure as a primary agent of socialization who promotes the health and development of a child while minimizing the possibility that the said child will develop deviant or risky behavior in future.

Identity problems were also factors that enhance the development of risky and deviant behavior among children and adolescents. This largely emanated from the existence of unresolved emotional issues with parents and the challenges that these individuals faced during their early childhood. Through such identity crisis children experience high level difficulty in adjusting to different conditions. These complications have been cited as leading factors in the development of social maladjustments, drug addiction onset and behavioral deviations. This is an indication that emotional issues, especially those arising from parent-child relationship play an essential role in determining the possibility of engaging in drug addiction onset when they are not resolved at early stages of development.

            According to NIDA (1999) parental surveillance is one of the most effective protective measures that can be used in shielding children from drug addiction onset. This is because through such surveillance parents develop an understanding of different aspects that define the lives of their children. In addition, it also enables parents to realize instances when their children develop any form of change in terms of their behavior. The development of addictive tendencies onset has been blamed on poor surveillance mechanisms developed by the parents of the addicts. Adequate surveillance can also be effective when parents provide the necessary support to their children in terms of advice and correctional mechanisms throughout their stages of development. the ability of a parent to show some level of concern and love for their children helps in f-determining the possibility that the said children will feel involved and appreciated by their families hence minimizing the probability of developing deviant behavior and drug addiction onset.

Conclusion and Recommendation

In conclusion, parenting is an important familial factor that determines the possibility that a child will be involved in drug addiction onset. Parents are heads of families and this makes them one of the most important agents of socialization. Their ability of their failure to develop adequate measures in matters related to the upbringing of their children is essential in determining the future of these children in relation to psychological development. Poor communication structures and emotional relationships contribute to unresolved psychological issues. In addition, poor surveillance and inadequate parental support provide a breeding ground for the development of deviant behavior and the possibility of drug addiction onset.

It is important for additional studies to be conducted on the role of a father figure in improving in ensuring the development of positive relationships between children and the parents. These additional studies must also focus on the most effective surveillance and parental support structures that can be initiated to minimize the possibility that children will be involved in deviant behavior while increasing the development of positive communication structures and emotional relationships between parents and children.


Georgas, J. (Ed.) (2006). Families and Family Change. Cambridge Catalogue Families across

Cultures. A 30-Nation Psychological Study. Cambridge: University Press

National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). (2003). Preventing Drug Use among Children and

Adolescents, A Research-Based Guide for Parents, Educators, and Community Leaders. Second Ed. NIH Publication No 04-4212 (A). Bethesda, MD: NIDA.

National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). (1999). Drug and Addiction Research. The Sixth

Triennial Report to Congress. Available at:

Stattin, H. & Kerr, M. (2000). Parental monitoring : A reinterpretation. Child Development 71

(4): 1072–85