Autonomy of Military Wives and Their Recognition of Alcoholism
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSONAFB OH
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Research on alcoholism recognizes that alcoholism negatively affects family members. Wives of alcoholics may suffer socially, physically, and psychologically as they struggle to define the problem and look for solutions. Ambivalence about the use of alcohol and what constitutes an alcoholic in our society contributes to the difficulties a wife has in defining whether her husband has an alcohol problem. This is compounded by the relaxed attitude toward alcohol in the military. Feminist research points out the tendency to pathologize women by labeling wives of alcoholics as enablers and codependents. Autonomy, a concept which is defined as, the quality of being self-governing, may have an impact on the duration and extent of consequences that are experienced by these wives. The purpose of this study was to look at the association between autonomy and recognition of alcohol severity in a pilot sample of 49 military wives at the OBGYN clinic of Madigan Army Medical Center at Ft. Lewis, Washington. Autonomy was measured with the Worthington Autonomy Scale. Recognition of alcohol severity was measured using vignettes that indicated three levels of alcohol use 1 social drinker 2 problem drinker, and 3 alcoholic. There was no correlation between autonomy and recognition.