Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

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


Social Work

First Advisor

Michael Chovanec


Social Work


This study utilized the concepts of resiliency, a strengths perspective, and an ecological perspective to explore the experiences of ACOAs and to guide the research in looking for what ACOAs say have served as protective factors for them on their journeys from childhood into adulthood. As revealed from the interviews and the literature, it is clear that ACOAs are a unique population who carry with them a lot of experiences, emotions, and complexities to their personality. However, it is also true that not all of these emotions or experiences were negative, and not all ACOAs are “doomed”. In this study, eight self-identified ACOAs were interviewed and their responses were transcribed, analyzed, and sorted into themes. The biggest themes in regards to protective factors that arose from the data included having distractions or activities outside of the home; having trusted people to talk to about what they were experiencing (either professionals or mutual self-help groups); education about alcoholism; the alcoholic parent getting treatment; and having hope, positivity, and resilience. The most unique finding was that having close sibling relationships served as a significant protective factor for all of the participants. Discovering what has served as “buffers” or protective factors for ACOAs can allow for more informed and effective prevention and intervention strategies for this population and increase successful adaptation and functioning in adulthood.

Included in

Social Work Commons