Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Spirituality as a Predictor of Positive Mental Health among Adolescents with Alcoholic Addicted Fathers

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Spirituality as a Predictor of Positive Mental Health among Adolescents with Alcoholic Addicted Fathers

Article excerpt

Spirituality has long been considered as a "forgotten or neglected dimension" in psychiatry and psychology (Marks, 2005). Spirituality is considered as a relationship that a person holds with a supreme power or spirit, need not necessarily be God. In its simplest way, spirituality can be defined as the breath of life, one which gives meaning and purpose to life (Lukoff, 2001 ). Studies in the latter half of the century established the role of spirituality and religion as contributing to mental health and also contributing to the holistic development of the individual (Simon, 2006). Since then, research and practice in the fields of medicine, psychiatry, psychology and social sciences have adopted a positive and favourable attitude towards the importance of spiritual dimension of the clients, in the process of therapy, treatment and recovery (Mueller et al., 2001 ).

Previous findings on the association between spirituality and mental health have found that people who consider themselves as spiritual experience potential benefits in terms of low rates of psychological distress, more satisfaction with life and are more likely to be high achievers of their goals compared to others who are not spiritual (Corrigan et al., 2003). The role played by spirituality in promoting mental health among different sections of the populations is being widely researched and the findings are impressive with regard to the positive associations between the two (Corrigan et al., 2003). However, research is relatively scarce on the positive impact of spirituality in promoting mental health among adolescent population (Cotton, Larkin, Hoopes, Cromer, & Rosenthal, 2005). The psychosocial development that happens during the adolescence has great importance as it lays down the foundation for adult personality and behaviour, which is generally found to be persisting throughout life. An important influence on the adolescents' identity formation, psychosocial adjustment and over all psychological well being is the role played by religion and spirituality. Even though, the literature on the area is limited, studies clearly show a positive association between adolescent spirituality and positive psychosocial wellness (Markstrom, 1999). Adolescents who are spiritual, are less likely to engage in risky and delinquent behaviours, alcohol and substance abuse and they are less likely to suffer from emotional distress (Regnerus, 2003). Spiritual beliefs such as a belief in a higher power and spiritual activities such as spending time in prayer, meditating and contemplating have a moderating effect on anger, anxiety and stress of adolescents (Carlozzi et al., 2010).

Alcohol dependence syndrome has now become a global public health issue with the recent statistics showing the increasing prevalence of the disorder among countries all over the world and the Indian scenario is not much different (Prasad, 2009. But research is relatively scarce on the parental effects of alcoholism on children especially on adolescents (Owen, Rosenberg, & Barkeley, 2001). The Children of Alcoholics (COA'S), whether they are adolescents or adults, have been identified as a "highly vulnerable group" by most of the researches that have been done so far (Nodar, 2012; Woodside, 1988; Hecht, 1993). Parental alcoholism has been considered as a major risk factor that causes poor developmental outcomes, physical and mental health issues in off springs (Hatch, 1993).

Findings show a strong association between parental alcoholism and emotional, behavioural issues in children (Alexandra et al., 2001). Parental drinking has also been associated with a lot of psychological problems in children which adversely affects their mental health and psychosocial adjustment. Children of addicts are at risk for developing depression, anxiety, eating disorders, high levels of stress etc. (Hecht, 1993). Moreover, parents' problem drinking has been found to be the major reason for children developing behavioural issues such as conduct disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in childhood and adolescence. …

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