Relationship of marital structure and interactions to opiate abuse relapse

Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 1987;13(4):387-99. doi: 10.3109/00952998709001523.


Several aspects of marital functioning were associated with subsequent relapse to opiate abuse in 17 married addicts. The addicts and spouses were evaluated in a task-oriented interview and rated using the Beavers Timberlawn Family Assessment instrument. The global health-pathology ratings on this instrument indicated that most couples had rigid patterns of interacting, rather than a chaotic lack of structure or a flexible, negotiated partnership. Within this range of rigid functioning, higher ratings were associated with longer times drug-free (up to 18 months with a mean of 7 months). On the seven subscales of the Beavers', five were significantly correlated with the time drug-free: effective and clear leadership, closeness between the spouses, a nonhostile mood, empathy, and efficient negotiation and problem solving. The subscales associated with drug abstinence were quite different for a group of seven single ex-addicts participating in the same outpatient program, but living with their parents. For these single ex-addicts three subscales were correlated with the time drug-free: parental reaction to separation strivings, the open expression of thoughts and feelings, and empathy. This difference in the subscales associated with abstinence for married versus single addicts suggested some specificity in the characteristics of family structure and interaction that may be related to drug abstinence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marriage*
  • Naltrexone / therapeutic use
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Recurrence


  • Naltrexone