Penelope Laycock

University of Strathclyde

Working Dissertation Title: Adult children of problem alcohol users in Glasgow and their habitus

Supervisors: Professor Ian Greener, Professor Sir Harry Burns

Abstract: There needs to be more research on the ‘lived reality’ of living in ‘chaotic’ circumstances in Scotland as it differs from elsewhere in Britain. There is also a need for a more connected system, as most studies do not distinguish between drug and alcohol addiction, so it is difficult to assess the impact of just one issue. Alcohol misuse is often overlooked or researched in conjunction with drug abuse. It is infrequently researched on its own (Laybourn et al., 1996).

The 1980s-2000s followed a large increase in alcohol related health inequalities (Walsh et al., 2015). Since 1980, the gap between alcohol-related deaths in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived areas has increased (Shipton et al., 2013). There are considerable differences throughout Glasgow in alcohol-related mortality. From 1981 to 2001 alcohol-related deaths in the most deprived quintile were 96% more than those in the least deprived quintile (Shipton et al., 2013). These health inequalities even though seen across Scotland are seen in even greater depth in Glasgow.

This can be seen as a cultural issue, specific to Glasgow. The work of Pierre Bourdieu regarding capital, field, habitus and practice will be utilised as both a theory and method to understand excessive alcohol use in Glasgow as a cultural phenomenon. In-depth narrative interviews will be undertaken to determine whether this is a cultural practice and whether there is a drinking habitus which can be used to inform policy.

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