Parental Substance Use, Locus of Control, and Substance Use Beliefs

Previous research has attempted to identify and understand the differences between adults who were raised by an alcoholic parent and those who were not. The present study aimed to compare Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOAs) with non-ACOAs on locus of control, drinking severity, and substance use beliefs. This was an online study with 493 participants recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk website and a university survey host. The study found that ACOAs scored higher on a drinking severity scale than did non-ACOAs. ACOAs who drank also scored more internally on a locus of control scale than did ACOAs who reported not drinking. ACOAs and non-ACOAs did not differ significantly on locus of control or perceptions of immorality. It was also found that ACOAs perceived alcohol consumption as more harmful to themselves than did non-ACOAs. Exploratory analyses found that participants who reported lower drinking severity levels scored higher perceptions of self-harm regarding multiple substances. Locus of control was not found to be related to perceptions of self-harm or perceptions of immorality. Understanding the differences between people and how they perceive life’s events and substance use may be beneficial in developing the treatment plans for each individual in drug and alcohol programs.