Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Melissa Lundquist


Social Work


Alcoholism is a problem in the United States, many children around the country grow up with one or more caregivers who is alcohol dependent. This study uses a systematic literature review to examine the romantic relationships of adult children of alcoholics (ACOA) with specific attention to attachment. The studies included in this review came from academic peer reviewed journals, which are empirically based, and include qualitative and quantitative studies. The studies had to include discussion on attachment in a population over 18 years of age. Studies that were excluded were those that focused on specific ethnic groups, gender, or therapy modality within the ACOA population. It also excluded studies that focused on ACOA chemical dependency. Common themes found throughout the literature included: lack of relationship satisfaction, difficulties with trust and control, common experiences in childhood which impact adult relationships, insecure attachment style, and increased probability of being alcohol dependent or marring someone who is alcohol dependent. Future research should focus on the commonalities and differences in dysfunctional family’s verses alcohol dependent families and how to better serve these populations.

Included in

Social Work Commons