Date of Conferral





Human Services


Avon M. Hart-Johnson


Parental alcoholism is a major risk factor for their children's future alcohol abuse and dependence during adulthood. Thus, the purpose of this descriptive phenomenological study was to understand African-American adult female children's perceptions of self-worth, their lived experiences, and their quality of life as it relates to parental alcoholism. The research focus and questions were addressed by applying the conceptual framework of Bowen's family systems and Covington's self-worth theories. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from 8 African-American adult female children of alcoholics. Subsequent data analysis and thematic coding were employed by using Colazzi's 7-step method to ensure rigor. The key findings from this study revealed that although over half of the women in this sample experienced some form of abuse and exposure to familial discord and even violence, their self-worth was strengthened by resilience and through forgiveness of their parents and siblings. This study's implications for positive social change include helping researchers and practitioners to better understand parental alcoholism and how it could shape the experiences of offspring, especially in the African-American female ethnic group. Future interventions could be shaped by these findings, and researchers may use these study results as a platform for future work in this literature domain.