Background: Effects of substance abuse frequently expand beyond the nuclear family.
Extended family members can experience feelings of abandonment, anxiety, fear, anger, concern,
embarrassment, or guilt. Thus, they may wish to ignore or cut ties with the person involved in substance
abuse. The aim of this study was to compare the mental health status of families with and
without substance abusers.
Methods: This cross sectional study was conducted among 114 family members with substance
abusers (case group) and 114 without substance abusers (control group) in Hamadan city of Iran, in
a time period from October to December 2016. Data collection tools included demographic and
SCL-90-R questionnaires. Data were analyzed by t- test using SPSS software version 16. The significance
level was considered less than 0.05.
Results: The mean age of participants in the case and control groups was 33±4.7 and 35±5.2 years.
There was a significant difference in the mean of subscales which included somatization,
interpersonal sensitivity, depression, anxiety and phobia in families with and without substance
abusers (p< 0.001). In other words, the mental health status of family members with a substance
abuser was lower than in the control group. Overall, 29.4% of family members with substance abusers
and 16% without substance abusers were suspected to have mental disorders.
Conclusion: Substance abuse is a disorder that can impact families in countless ways. Therefore, it
is recommended that more attention should be given to this group toward planning mental health
programs. Also, families should be screened by health professionals in regard to psychological
needs and improvement of their mental health conditions.