The dark side of helping behaviors: Partner support increases daily alcohol use in outpatients with a history of alcohol dependence

Frances C. Calkins, Rebecca L. Brock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The primary goal of the present study was to systematically investigate the role of intimate partner support in alcohol use and to examine whether partner support serves a maladaptive function among individuals with a history of alcohol dependence. This goal was pursued in a sample of low-income outpatients because of increased risk for chronic stress and alcohol use disorders among this population. We implemented a comprehensive, multi-method assessment of partner support and ecological momentary assessments of alcohol use over 14 consecutive days. Results demonstrate the potential “dark side” of helping behaviors that has been proposed in recent literature. Specifically, in a sample of low-income outpatients, we found that receiving more frequent and higher quality support from one’s partner put individuals meeting criteria for alcohol dependence at greater risk for consuming alcohol. Findings converge with research suggesting that helping behaviors might function to enable maladaptive coping mechanisms in the context of alcohol use disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1389-1404
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Volume37
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2020

Keywords

  • Alcohol dependence
  • couples
  • daily diary
  • low socioeconomic status
  • outpatients
  • partner support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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