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Familial Risk Factors Favoring Drug Addiction Onset


FamilialRisk Factors Favoring Drug Addiction Onset

Drugaddiction has hit families like a wave leaving in its wake despair,anger, frustration and isolation. In this line, alcohol as well asmisuse of other drugs, such as, hard drugs has with time been anincreasing social problem that has led to the annihilation ofcommunities, families and even individuals. According to nationalstatics in the U.S, between eighteen to nineteen thousand automobiledeaths every year have a connection to alcohol consumption (Dash &ampUlrich, 2008). Deaths from drowning, violent crimes, as well as,suicides are also in many cases alcohol related. Over time, drugpolicies, research and service provision has primarily dwelt onmeeting the needs of individual that has the drug addiction problem.This has come at a huge cost to the drug abuser and to the family aswell with direct costs coming in the form of hospital bills justicesystem costs an accident compensation fees. Indirect costs have alsobeen incurred through, illness, increased unemployment, reducedefficiency and even premature deaths.

Accordingto Goddard &amp Melville (2004), the trail to drug abuse isintricate and determined by various psychological, environmental,cultural and biological factors. Various studies have shown theexistence of the drug addiction problem in the family setting. Thestudies have shown that parents who abuse drugs expose their childrento the risk factors that may also introduce their children to engagein such activities. This is because family members play a significantrole in the lives of their relatives and go a long into having animpact in the direction they take in life. Over time, an essentialtransformation has been experienced whereby researchers have begun tofocus on the family as either being the basis of drug abuse or partlyresponsible for drug abuse maintenance. Goddard &amp Melville (2004)notes that researchers who have laid emphasis on the role of familialassociations in the establishment and continuation of drug abuse havebeen able to identify a strong link between interrupted familyrelationships and drug abuse. In connection with these, this studywill explore the familial risk factors leading to the onset of drugaddiction. The study will thus examine the effects of drug abuse onthe family system and how it could be contained. With view of theabove, this research hypothesizes that,inadequateparenting that is characterized of drug abuse affects thepsychological development of children by continually exposing them torisk factors that lead to their adopting of the parents addictivebehaviors.


Theliterature review will focus on reviewing, summarizing, andsynthesizing various arguments and ideas of other researchers, withregard to, factors leading to drug addiction. The literature reviewwill be the guide in understanding the intricacies of drug addictionhence make possible the conducting of a well-informed research.

Theproposed research on this proposal will not be a replication ofprevious studies in the field of familial risk factors leading to theonset of drug addiction. The research will instead focus on coming upwith new information in this area, as well as, bridge the researchgap in previous studies that has been done in this field.

Biologicaltheories highlighting drug addiction onset

Contemporarybiological theories have revealed neurobiological, hereditary, andneurobehavioral bases for addictive behaviors. The neurobiologicaltheory focuses on neuro-adaptive processes and the role theseprocesses play in the adoption of substance abuse behavior. Thegenetic disposition of a person also plays a considerable role inthis theory. The neurobehavioral theory attributes alcoholism,together with other drugs abuses leading to disorders, by connectingthem to certain behavioral disorders (Miller, 2013).

Thegenetics theory goes on to emphasize the part played by heredity inthe advancement of addictive disorders. The apparent susceptibilityof some individuals to addictions has driven researchers to explorefor the factors that may contribute to increased susceptibility tosubstance misuse. Much of the research that has attempted todemonstrate a genetic factor in substance abuse has focused onalcoholism. As such, various studies have revealed that an adoptedchild, for instance, possesses rates of alcoholism that are closer totheir genetic parents, than to those of their adoptive parents(Miller, 2013).In blending with other variables, hereditaryfactors may go on and facilitate, or enhance the process of onebecoming an addict.

Familystudies in relation to drug abuse identify genetic susceptibility fordrug abuse. Researchers in this line suggest that children ofalcoholics carry a three to fourfold risk of becoming alcoholic.Moreover, a percentage of the heritability of drug abuse in adultscan also be attributed to the same genetic factors as those thatbring about the development of behavior in childhood (Miller, 2013).In this line children sired by alcoholics and brought up by nonalcoholic parents, for instance, are said to have a three to fourfoldincreased risk for being alcoholics when compared to the adopteeswhose biological parents were not alcoholics.

Sociologicaltheories favoring drug addiction onset

Sociologiststry to examine the situations, social relations, and socialstructures close to the individual rather than examining thecharacteristics of an addict. Various sociological theories exist,with regard to, substance abuse. Some of the major sociologicaltheories in this area are the socialization theories, labelingtheory, social learning theory and the social and self-controltheory.

Socializationtheory, social process

Thistheory focuses on how persons or groups end up being involved withdrugs abuse over time and what can be done to change this trend(Coombs, Fry &amp Lewis, 2006). Socialization is normallydevelopmental, in that, key factors are identified over time thatleads to substance abuse. In socialization process, the understandingof a wide range of drug related dependent variables, which aresociological in nature, is central in highlighting the risk factorsbehind individuals becoming drug addicts. In the case of familialrisk factors leading to drug addiction, the socialization of childrenwith parents who abuse drugs, being the dependent variables in thiscase, helps in comprehending the adoption of these behaviors by thechildren. As such, the understanding of these sociological dependentvariables is critical in understanding how individuals are lured tosubstance abuse.

Socialand self-control theories

Thetheory tries to analyze the various social issues behind thedeviation of individuals from the normal, such as abusing substances,or even breaking the law. Hirschi, a major proponent of this modelargues that the prevalence of delinquent behaviors such as substanceabuse are the outcomes of sociological factors such as impropersocialization (Coombs, Fry &amp Lewis, 2006). This is most probableto occur in the event that there is inadequate attachment to issues,such as, quality parenting, occupational success, inadequateattachment to conventional activities, and inadequate beliefs inthings such as legitimacy and morality, with regard to, the law.Individuals, who fail to bond these elements in their life, areconsequently at the risk of engaging themselves in substance abuse.This is in line with (Jadranka&amp Jukiz,2012)findings that social developments lead to a modeling of children’sattitudes and behaviors in line with that of their parents.

Sociallearning theory

Insocial learning, behavior is usually modeled and reinforced throughthe various interactions with other people by learning of otherbehaviors (Coombs, Fry &amp Lewis, 2006). Social learning has itsapplications when it comes to substance abuse. The theory proposesthat the abuse of substances is explainable through exposure ofindividuals to groups, which go on to reinforce their behavior. Suchgroups do provide a social environment in which learning of certainbehaviors is developed. The development is enhanced through imitationand social reinforcement by members of a given group. Substance abusein this line is thus determined by the extent to which a given copiedpattern of conduct is maintained by the mixture of the strengthenedeffects of the abused substance. From the theory, therefore, theextent to which substances will be abused depends on the extent ofthe reinforcement of a given behavior (Coombs, Fry &amp Lewis,2006). This implies that individuals tend to repeat what they likedoing. In line with this, kids raised in families where parents aredrug abusers there is a high likelihood that these children willalso engage in drug use at a given period in their lives. Asproponents in this research put it, imitation and socialreinforcement of such behaviors is key, which means that childrengrowing up in substance abusing homes are exposed to the risk ofengaging in drug abuse.

Theseresearchers have employed the use of qualitative data analysis sincethe data contain numerous sources of qualitative data including theconceptual framework given by the authors, the interpretations given,as well as, the conclusions. It’s also worth noting that theresearchers compare and contrast more than two sources which justifythe use of qualitative analysis in the literature reviewed. In viewof these, the rationale behind these reviewed articles has been toprovide a framework for interpreting and analyzing literature in abid to guide the whole research process.


Thisresearch will employ the use of qualitative research method which isbest suited to analyze this of study. This is because the qualitativemethod is usually more subjective than quantitative research as itentails the examining and reflecting on the less tangible aspects ofresearch (Dash &amp Ulrich, 2008). Such aspects include values,attitudes and perceptions in collecting data of a given phenomenon. This is in different to quantitative analysis which mainly focuses oncollecting and analyzing numerical data by measuring the scale,frequency and range of the phenomenon under study. Considering thatthe phenomenon under study is focused on understanding the behaviorsand perceptions prevalent in familial factors leading to drugaddiction, the study will be well analyzed by focusing on thequalitative method.


Theresearch will use an experimental control group of 69 addicts fromHyridge rehab center of different genders, who will be put underpsychiatric treatment. The study will also have an equal number ofnon addicts in equal gender proportions. Participants will range from18 to 50 years which will be inclusive of parents, as well as,children who can fall under the category of addict or not in thefamily structure. Coming up with the sample size and selection ofthe two control groups will be a random sampling strategy. Thismeans that each person in the populace has the same likelihood ofbeing chosen for the study hence eliminating bias. Random samplingthus will help in coming up with the needed kind and size of thepopulation for the study.


Thestandard that will be used in setting up the control group will focuson capturing the demographics of the two groups, which includeseducational background, age, and their place of birth. With suchcharacteristics of the participants captured, the study hopes topresent a comparison of the results from the different groups interms of behavior attitudes and perceptions of the groups in a bid tofind out the familial risk factors that lead to drug addiction onset(Jadranka&amp Jukiz,2012).Data will be collected using questionnaires which will beadministered manually. The, kinds of, questions that will beincorporated in the research include whether the participants knowwhat drug abuse is? Whether they have engaged in drug abuse, in thepast or present? What led them to start using drugs? and what theythink they can do to stop using drugs?. With such questions andinformation, the research will be well placed to justify its findingsand come up with credible results.


Dataanalysis is a systematic process that applies both statistical andlogical procedures to describe and illustrate data. Various analytictechniques provide a means of drawing inductive suppositions fromdata, as well as differentiating the occurrence of interest from thecurrent data (Goddard &amp Melville, 2004). The collected will beanalyzed qualitatively whereby descriptive variables of the twocomparable groups will be analyzed.A qualitative variable will beemployed, whereby classification of the variables, such as, age anddifferent values will represent the groups in which the subjectsunder study belong. The analysis will further involve parametricstatistics which will help to determine whether the two variables areinterrelated. The importance of this will be to estimate the patternand the strength of the associations among the different variables,as well as, test the validity of the hypothesis.


It’simportant that every research involving human participants goesthrough a formal process of research ethics. This in many cases maygo on to affect the researcher in some aspects due to thetechnicalities that come with formality in getting of participants,ensuring their confidentiality is maintains, as well as, knowing howto deal with participants deception. The research will adhere to theethical issues in research by ensuring that the rights and thegeneral well being of the participants are recognized and protectedregardless of the nature of the research (Sieber, 2014). As such, thestudy will be guided by the code of practice in research thatprovides guidelines, as well as, reinforcing the basic principles ofhuman rights and ethics. Such principles will revolve around respectfor human dignity, truth, justice and autonomy.


Themain aim of the study will be to identify the familial risk factorslead to drug addiction onset that will be carried out amongparticipants. Based on the result of the issue under study, it willbe determined whether the various participants have been exposed tofamilial risk factors that are capable of influencing theirpsychosocial development hence favoring the onset of drug addiction.The research will aim to link the findings with the research findingsof other researchers in a bid to validate the findings when comparedto previous studies and confirm the hypothesis that inadequateparenting that is characterized of drug abuse affects thepsychological development of children by continually exposing them torisk factors that lead to their adopting of the parents addictivebehaviors. The study also will also aim to develop a framework forfuture investigation of familial relations and drug abuse.


Coombs,R. H., Fry, L. J., &amp Lewis, P. G. (2006). Socializationin drug abuse.Cambridge, Mass: Schenkman Pub. Co.

Dash D. P. &amp Ulrich. W. (2008). Innovations and challenges inResearch. Journalof Research Practice.78(1),143–151.

Goddard,W., &amp Melville, S. (2004). Researchmethodology: An introduction.New York University Press.

Jadranka,I.Z. &nbsp&amp Jukiz, V. (2012). Familial Risk Factors FavoringDrug Addiction Onset.Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 44 (2),173–185.

Miller,P. M. (2013). Biologicalresearch on addiction. Amsterdam:Elsevier Academic Publishing Company.

Sieber,J.E. (2014) Human Research Ethics. Journalof Empirical Research. 69(2),180-198.