The Alcoholic Family

  • Peter Steinglass
  • Anne Robertson


In this chapter, we deal with family influences in the pathogenesis of alcoholism. Were we to interpret this mandate literally, we would be taking as our task a presentation of evidence that the family plays a role as an etiological agent in the development of alcoholism. Although some of the data we discuss here could conceivably be interpreted in this fashion, most students of the family would be made uncomfortable by an attempt to characterize the family as an etiological agent in the development of pathology. Hypotheses about the role of family behavior in the onset and course of illness tend to rely on complex interactional models based on notions of circular causality and the mutual influence of interacting variables. Traditional cause-and-effect hypotheses are replaced in such models by multi-factorial explanations. The family is seen as one of a series of variables that interact in a dynamic, systemic fashion to influence the development and course of a condition such as alcoholism.


Child Abuse Birth Order Family Violence Interactional Behavior Family Behavior 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Steinglass
    • 1
  • Anne Robertson
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Family Research and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesGeorge Washington University School of MedicineUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Wisconsin—MilwaukeeMilwaukeeUSA

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