Campus Units

Human Development and Family Studies

Document Type


Publication Version

Accepted Manuscript

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Emerging Adulthood




Exposure to parental alcoholism can inhibit a child’s ability to become a successfully functioning young adult. Based on qualitative

interviews, this study provides a deeper understanding of how those parent–adolescent relationships are associated with risky internalizing and externalizing behaviors. This qualitative study explores the lives of 13 young adult children of alcoholics (ACOAs) and provides a unique perspective through an adaptive developmental approach by evaluating emerging adults who were ACOAs and successfully functioning. Compelling findings emerged with respect to how young adults define alcoholism and being a child of alcoholism and how the parent–adolescent relationship adapts in the unstable environment associated with family alcoholism. Salient findings revealed that when emotional and physical detachment from a parent’s alcoholic behaviors in addition to an acceptance that those behaviors are not the adolescent’s responsibility, individuals gained better control of their environment aiding them in becoming healthy, functioning young adults.


This article is published as Bickelhaupt, S.E., Lohman, B.J., Neppl, T.K., The Influence of Parental Alcoholism on Parent–Adolescent Relationships From Adolescence Into Emerging Adulthood: A Qualitative Inquiry. Emerging Adulthood, 2019. Doi: 10.1177/2167696818824186. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

Sage Publication, Inc.



File Format


Published Version