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Title: An exploration of alcohol misuse, attachment and parental relationships
Author: Ainslie, Hannah
ISNI:       0000 0004 7658 6685
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2018
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Alcohol consumption in the United Kingdom (UK) attracts much political and media attention. The view of Britain as a 'nation of incorrigible boozers' (Nicholls, 2014, para. 2) can be seen in popular culture almost daily, from normalised binge drinking behaviour across popular media to traditional British public houses considered tourist destinations and 'Boozy Britain' considered a cultural norm (Betts, 2012). With an economic burden of ill health due to alcohol use alone costing the National Health Service (NHS) an estimated £3.3 billion in 2006-2007 (Scarborough et al., 2011), researchers and historians have looked at the development of drinking in the UK in an effort to understand and inform public health and policy development (Haydock, 2016). However even historically, political attempts to reduce drinking have been considered unsuccessful. Seventeenth and eighteenth century Britain saw developments in alcohol consumption which shaped the political and social view of drinking and arguably brought a British view of drinking which remains influential (Nicholls, 2014). It is thought that in the 1600s the Thirty Years War saw the introduction of 'Dutch Courage' whereby British troops were given the early forms of gin from Holland in the damp weather. As soldiers began to bring it home and it grew popular, King William III is said to have encouraged the English distillation of spirits through deregulation and the popularity of producing and drinking spirits, and gin in particular, soared. Figure 1, William Hogarth's illustration 'Gin Lane' (1751), exemplifies the beginnings of social concern regarding alcohol consumption, signifying a view of the role of gin in mothers' neglect of their children. Political concern triggered the Gin Act (1736), making gin prohibitively expensive for the working classes. In response, public riots broke out and gin production continued to soar on the black market and from then on prohibition was accepted as unenforceable (Higgs, 1984; Nicholls, 2009). Nevertheless, increasing social concern for national welfare due to 'universal drunkenness' brought the Temperance Movement in the 1800s, which aimed to promote a law prohibiting the sale of alcohol in the UK, much like the United States (Wilson, 1940). A prototype bill proposed in 1859 was rejected by the House of Commons and alcohol consumption saw another peak in the late 1800s (British Beer and Pub Association, 2007; Nicholls, 2009). The early 20th century saw a decline in the consumption of alcohol however. At the same time as the outbreak of World War One, which saw millions of young men sent to war, taxes on brewers increased, opening hours were reduced and a ban on the buying of 'rounds' was introduced. Reduced rates of alcohol consumption were mostly sustained until the 1960s, which saw the introduction of lager (and 'lager louts'), more liberal licencing policies and the encouragement of a competitive market. However the 1970s brought health concerns with the acknowledgement of alcohol as the primary determinant for liver disease, which rose dramatically in Britain as it fell across Europe. Between 1992 and 2006 alcohol related mortality doubled, placing alcohol firmly on the political agenda. Despite recent falls in UK consumption, alcohol related deaths remain 70% higher than in the 1990s. This has inevitably increased political and social concern for drinking alcohol in the UK (British Beer and Pub Association, 2007; Haydock, 2016; Nicholls, 2014; Scarborough et al., 2011). The modern attitude to children and the acknowledgement of parent-child relationships can be traced back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The literature of the 1800s has been cited as evidence of this shift, with a genre of books such as Lewis Carroll's 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' in 1865 representing a shift from informative educational content for children to authors offering empathy, entertaining and imaginative engagement with children (Jordan, 1998). From the early 1900s, alongside increased wages for working classes, western culture developed narratives around the importance of children being 'socialised' in order to develop into acceptable adults, placing growing responsibility for this onto parents, moving towards ideas of the 'nuclear family' and economic independence and away from earlier values of the extended family and community support (Pothan, 1992). The First and Second World Wars brought attention to the psychological impact of trauma, with medical professionals and researchers developing psychological treatment for shell-shocked soldiers. Much of this work took place at the Tavistock Clinic in London, with European psychiatrists such as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung joining forces and developing early psychological theories. By the early formation of the NHS, John Bowlby joined the Tavistock Clinic (which had become a leading part of the NHS) and began studying relationships between infants and parents (Dicks, 1970), leading to the development of attachment theory (e.g., Bowlby, 1951). Bowlby and his colleagues were reportedly influenced by observations of children separated from parents when in hospital, and by observations of 'disturbed and delinquent' children and their parental relationships. This gave rise to a continually growing and widely scientific-and-socially accepted view of parental relationships as a crucial part of healthy human development (Dicks, 1970; Rustin, 2007). This thesis considers research and links between experiences of parental rearing and problematic alcohol consumption, and mechanisms by which these may be related.
Supervisor: Lobley, Katy ; Mehdikhani, Mani Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral