Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Educational Specialist (EdS)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Deborah Kipps-Vaughan

Tiffany Hornsby

Joseph LeBlanc


This study aimed to identify challenges, resiliency factors, and needs of adolescents living with parents misusing substances. Seven first-year students at James Madison University in PSYC 101 and PSYC 160 classes signed up to participant in this study to receive course credit. While supervised by a mental health provider, participants individually completed a Modified CAST-6 screener as well as a locally developed survey. A nonexperimental mixed-methods study was conducted including the convergent collection of quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and qualitative data were analyzed through Braun and Clarke’s (2006) model of thematic analysis. The researcher used percentages of responses of all quantitative data to find the most prominent challenges for participants. Quantitative results include: 27.7% of parents did not help with schoolwork; 22.5% of parents were unable to help with household responsibilities; 16.6% of parents were incapable of providing for the family; 41.6% of parents did not take care of their children as much as they feel they should have; and 8.3% of parents tried to get their child to use substances with them. The researcher found major themes amongst resiliency factors of participants, including finding their own coping skills and refining them as they got older, receiving support from other adults, and having family traditions that mostly did not change based on their parents’ substance use. Participants’ responses indicated they needed counseling support, both adults and peers checking in on them, assistance with getting the parent to stop using substances, support for the other parent, and connecting with others in similar situations during their adolescent years. By forming relationships with adolescents at school, support staff can recognize the resiliency factors within these students and provide effective coping skills. Finding healthy strategies for students and providing them with a judgment-free space to express their experiences and concerns is most likely to promote success and well-being for these adolescents.



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