Struggling with one’s own parenting after an upbringing with substance abusing parents

Eva Tedgård, Maria Råstam, Ingegerd Wirtberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To add to our knowledge concerning the key elements involved in the individual’s experience of growing up with substance abusing parents and the resulting challenges this involved for their own parenthood. Methods: In-depth interviews were conducted with 19 parents who had participated in a mental health intervention programme. All had experienced substance abusing parents in their family of origin. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyse the data. They also completed a self-report questionnaire assessing their attachment style. Result: Participants reported a high incidence of emotional abuse and neglect coupled with inadequate support from the community. Their own parental role was influenced by high parental stress and a majority had an insecure attachment style. Conclusions: All participants had experienced a very difficult childhood which was reinforced by the fact that they received little support from society. Their childhood experience and the resulting challenges that this created in their own parenting role could negatively influence their own children’s ability to form a secure psychosocial development. It is therefore important to develop instruments that can help to identify children who were raised in misuse families in order to accommodate the transgenerational effects of growing up with substance abusing parents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1435100
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
  • Other Health Sciences

Free keywords

  • childhood experience
  • emotional abuse
  • Infant mental health
  • parenting
  • substance abuse


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