Stress-coping morbidity among family members of addiction patients in Singapore

Kae Meng Thomas Lee, Victoria Manning, Hui Chin Teoh, Munidasa Winslow, Arthur Lee, Mythily Subramaniam, Song Guo, Kim Eng Wong

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34 Citations (Scopus)


Introductions and Aims. Research from western countries indicates that family members of addiction patients report heightened stress and psychological morbidity. This current study aimed to examine stress, coping behaviours, related morbidity and subsequent resource utilisation among family members of patients attending a national treatment program in Singapore. Design and Methods. The study used a matched case-control design. One hundred family members of addiction patients attending treatment and 100 matched controls completed a semi-structured interview with a researcher. This included the Beck Depression Inventory-II, Short-Form Health Survey-36, General Health Questionnaire-28, Perceived Stress Scale, Family Member Impact Scale and Coping Questionnaire, and also assessed service utilisation. Results. T-tests revealed significantly greater depression, stress and psychiatric morbidity and poorer overall well-being (Short-Form Health Survey-36) among family members compared with controls. Despite the apparent negative impact on mental health, their physical morbidity did not differ from controls and services utilisation was low. Tolerant-inactive coping was found to be most strongly correlated with psychological well-being. Multivariate analysis indicated that perceived stress was the strongest predictor of overall strain (General Health Questionnaire), but this was not moderated by coping style. Discussion and Conclusions. Subjective appraisal of stress and coping responses are essential factors affecting the morbidity of family members. Family members demonstrated a need and willingness to engage in formal treatment/counselling for their own problems that were attributed to living with an addiction patient. This provides an opportunity for stress management and brief interventions to modify coping styles, thereby minimizing the potential negative mental health impact on family members.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-447
Number of pages7
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Addiction
  • Coping
  • Family
  • Singapore
  • Stress

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