The relationship between women's sexual addiction and family dynamics, depression and substance abuse
Empirical investigations of sexual addiction are increasing, but there is a paucity of research regarding women (Schneider, 2004). Co-morbidity with other addictions (e.g., Carnes, 1991; Schneider, 1994) as well as depression (i.e., Meadows, 2003) has been found. Sexual addicts describe their family-of-origin as having been abusive, with low cohesion and adaptability (Carnes, 1991). Poor bonding between daughters and fathers has been suggested as a contributor to sexual addiction in women (e.g., Kasl, 1989), though it has not been empirically investigated. This study served to extend past research efforts and utilized a stepwise multiple regression analysis to investigate predictors of women's sexual addiction. The investigator sought to replicate previous data and to conduct an initial investigation of the father-daughter relationship, specifically father bonding; the hypothesis was that it would have been described by women sexual addicts as being characterized by low care and low protection. This study contains the largest sample (known by this author to date) of sexually addicted women in an empirical study utilizing the Women's Sexual Addiction Screening Test, and is the first study to provide sample reliability.
Participants included 99 self-identified sexual addicts, ages 18 to 59. Approximately 57% of the participants were in the process of, or had received treatment. Participants were asked to fill out questionnaires the way they would have "at the height of their addiction." They completed the W-SAST, Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scale-Second Edition, Parent Bonding Instrument, Michigan Alcohol Screening Test, Drug Addiction Screening Test, and Beck Depression Inventory-Second Edition. The current sample yielded acceptable reliability for the W-SAST (α = .78). A significant positive correlation was found between sexually addicted behaviors and childhood abuse, depression and substance abuse. Perceived family cohesion and adaptability revealed a significant inverse correlation with sexually addictive behaviors. A statistically significant inverse relationship was also found between sexually addicted behaviors and father care, and a positive correlation was found with protection. Depression accounted for 28.5% of the variance, while family adaptability and drug abuse accounted for 13.8 and 4%, respectively. Additional analyses were performed and mediating relationships were found.
0451: Social psychology
0453: Womens studies
0622: Clinical psychology