School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision (PhD)


Fred Volk


adult children of alcoholics, anxiety, attachment disruption, avoidance, best friend relationships, depression, parental alcoholism, resilience, and self-compassion




This study intends to address the gap in the literature on treatment options for adult children of alcoholics (ACOAs). The theoretical and conceptual framework for this study was centered on three main ideas: attachment styles, resilience, and self-compassion. Studies have indicated that exposure to parental alcoholism increases the risk of depression, anxiety, and insecure attachment, and ACOAs tend to have higher resilience than non-ACOAs. Researchers have examined different treatment approaches and clinical outcomes for ACOAs. Some holistic treatment choices, specifically self-compassion, have grown ubiquitous for a broad spectrum of individuals with trauma. The purpose of this study is to assess the role of self-compassion in moderating the relationship between ACOAs and three primary outcomes: depression, anxiety, and attachment disruption. The Children of Alcoholics Screening Test (Modified CAST-6), Brief Resilience Scale (BRS), Depression-Anxiety-Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21), the Experiences in Close Relationships–Relationship Structures (ECR-RS), and the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS) were administered to a group of participants (N = 202) through Amazon Mechanical Turk and the online survey platform, Qualtrics. Pearson’s correlation matrix and multiple regression analysis were performed to analyze the findings. Hayes’s PROCESS was conducted to test mediation and moderated mediation with outcome variables. This study hypothesized that self-compassion would moderate the relationship between the CAST-6 and resilience. The findings revealed that there was a strong interaction effect of self-compassion on the CAST-6 and resilience that affected the outcome variable of attachment disruption in best friend relationships. A summary of the findings and implications were focused on the interpretations of the findings.

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