Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

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


Social Work

First Advisor

Lisa R. Kiesel


Social Work


It is estimated that twenty eight million Americans are adult children of alcoholics. There are risk factors that are associated with being a child of an alcoholic. Throughout the majority of the research studies on adult children of alcoholics the research is focused on these risk factors. However, the majority of adult children of alcoholics grow into mentally and physically healthy adults, who through resiliency and protective factors have been able to overcome and thrive in adulthood despite being raised by a parent that is an alcoholic. This narrative analysis discovered what resiliency and protective factors have been identified. It also found the variety of the definitions on what resiliency and protective factors are and it found how clinical social workers might implement these research findings into their practice. This narrative analysis produced codes and categories that led to the major themes to produce the findings of the protective and resiliency factors in adult children of alcoholics, definitions of resiliency, and protective factors, and the clinical implications for clinical social work practice. The major themes that were produced for resiliency and protective factors were: positive personality traits, positive coping skills, average to high IQ, positive support systems, having had at least one secure attachment, human needs met, spirituality, and privilege. The major themes that were found for defining resiliency and protective factors were: a process to overcome adversity, internal characteristics, personality traits, positive outcomes, environmental factors, and biological factors. The major themes for clinical implementation were: education programs, assessment of the client, therapy, and resource accessibility.

Included in

Social Work Commons