The ‘Home Treatment’

The First Steps in Trying to Cope with an Alcoholic Husband
  • Jacqueline P. Wiseman
Part of the The Springer Series on Stress and Coping book series (SSSO)


It is now recognized that alcohol addiction generates problems that extend beyond the heavy drinker to the family and particularly the spouse. Yet for several decades, when the spouse (and especially the wife) was the focus of research, primary emphasis was on her as an unwitting causal agent in her husband’s problem drinking, due to the presumed presence of “pathological” personality traits such as dominance, dependency, or sadomasochism. More recently, Steinglass and others11,16–18 have taken a functionalist, systems approach and attempted to show that the wife is a part of a family ”system“ that may help maintain the husband’s problem drinking. Where the focus has been on the coping behavior of wives of alcoholics, investigators have been concerned with their management of the problem over a considerable time span of their husband’s drinking career and do not detail early attempts to get their husbands to stop or cut down.4–8,10 This effort to fit the wife into the etiology of alcoholism, or condense her attempts to cope with a husband’s long drinking career into major stages, has resulted in ignoring what might be the first line of defense in the battle with a man’s compulsive drinking behavior—the wife’s early intervention efforts.


Heavy Drinking Home Treatment Nonstressful Environment Indirect Strategy Entire Repertoire 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacqueline P. Wiseman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of California-San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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