Adult Children of Alcoholics

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An overview of a meta-analysis of current literature on Adult Children of Alcoholics.

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  • This is a personality profile generated about the “typical college student”
  • This is actually a personality profile for the zodiac sign Leo
  • personality descriptions from tests are made to fit the patient largely or wholly by virtue of their triviality; and in which any nontrivial, but perhaps erroneous, inferences are hidden in a context of assertions or denials which carry high confidence simply because of the population base rates, regardless of the test's validity
  • Basically: the base rate of people in the population is so high that although the symptom profile may describe the group, it does not define them
  • Study at the University of Missouri (Logue, Sher, & Frensch 1992)56 women ACOA, 56 men ACOA, 56 non ACOA women, 56 non ACOA menGiven a personality assessment. Then they were asked to evaluate a personality profile that, they were told, the computer had generated on the basis of their answers to the initial set of question- naires. In reality, ACOAs and non-ACOAs were randomly assigned to receive one of the four personality profiles shown Rate the profile 1-7 on how well it described 1. self, 2. people in general, 3. ACOA, 1 being very poorly and 7 being excellently
  • So they took these profiles and evaluated them based on how accurate they were “how well does the profile describe you”“how well does the profile describe people in general”“how well does the profile describe children of alcoholics”
  • 71% rated profile types as describing them “very well” or better (74 non 67 ACOA)43% rated it as describing people in general “very well” or better33% rated it as descrribing children of alcoholics “very well” or betterNo significant difference between ratings for Barnum profiles and ACOA profiles, they are indistinguishable as descriptors of self, people in general, and children of alcoholics
  • Adult Children of Alcoholics

    1. 1. Jessie MasonEDHS 3500:AbnormalPsychologyMYTH: ADULT CHILDRENOF ALCOHOLICS DISPLAY ADISTINCTIVE PROFILE OFSYMPTOMS
    2. 2.  Enthusiastic, positive, cheerful view of life Confident Commands respect and recognition Warm and cheerful glow Proud Super-achiever Inspiration to others Go out of your way to give helpful hints Offer genuine friendship Tremendous sense of loyalty in your relationshipsPROFILE
    3. 3. THE BARNUM EFFECT
    4. 4.  “…personality descriptions from tests are made to fit thepatient largely or wholly by virtue of their triviality; and inwhich any nontrivial, but perhaps erroneous, inferences arehidden in a context of assertions or denials which carry highconfidence simply because of the population base rates,regardless of the tests validity.” (Meehl, 1956)THE BARNUM EFFECT
    5. 5.  University of Missouri: 1992 224 subjects selected from 2,428 screenings Personality assessment Evaluation of “specific” personality profileRESEARCH
    6. 6. BARNUM PROFILES
    7. 7. ACOA PROFILES
    8. 8.  “…lack of a reliableinteraction between FamilyHistory and ProfileType, indicating that thedifference between ACOAprofiles and Barnum profileswas not different for ACOAsand non-ACOAs.” “…the majority of subjectsrated the profiles as highlydescriptive of Self.”RESULTS
    9. 9.  Although this list of “symptoms” may describe adult childrenof alcoholics, it does not define them as a group. The personality profiles of adult children of alcoholics seemaccurate to them because they are accurate to a large numberof people in the population, some of whom happen to be adultchildren of alcoholics.WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?

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