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The experiences of family members living with a problematic alcohol drinker: a systematic review protocol of qualitative evidence

Siiger, Charlotte PhD, MSc in Anthropology; Graarup, Jytte MScN, nurse

Author Information
JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports: March 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 3 - p 340-347
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Inclusion criteria

Types of participants

Family members living with a problematic drinker. Family members are people who live in the same household as the drinker, and who are sharing everyday life with him or her. This includes spouses, children, parents, cousins etc.

Phenomena of interest

The experiences of the family members.


The family home environment.

Types of studies

Qualitative studies, e.g. phenomenology, grounded theory and ethnography.

Search strategy

The search strategy aims to find both published and unpublished studies and will consider studies published in the English and Scandinavian languages for inclusion. A three-step search strategy will be employed. The first step is a pilot search, which has already been completed. From the onset, the pilot search was limited to anthropological literature only as anthropology might contribute with a new angle to the field of reviews, and was started with databases of anthropological literature. Anthro* was used as one of the search word in combination with e.g. alcohol and famil*. However, this strategy did not give many results, and the search was broadened to include a wider range of literature.

The pilot search included the following databases: Soc index/EBSCO, Web of science, Pubmed, Forskningsdatabasen (= the research database, Danish), Academic Search Elite, AntropologyPlus, Anthrosource and JSTOR. Alcohol was a recurrent search word in combination with experience, anthro*, famil*, consequence*, emotion*, harm, men, effect, problems, victim, attitude, interpretation, perception, child/children, neglect, normal, every-day, women, norm and behavior.

The result of the pilot search was a selection of 11 articles.

The second step of the search strategy will be to re-visit the results of the pilot search and assess them with a trained research librarian with the aim of qualifying the further search. Based on this assessment, a new search strategy will be made. This will include Google Scholar and IBSS (International Bibliography of the Social Sciences), which has not been included in the pilot search. The second search will use all identified keywords and index terms to search across all included databases. The reference list of all identified reports and articles will be searched for additional studies.

Finally, the third step in the search strategy is to scan homepages for both published and unpublished literature and to search in books. Relevant homepages are e.g.: (= Centre for Alcohol and Drug research)

• Center for alkoholforskning (= Centre for Alcohol Research)

• SFI (= the Danish National Centre for Social Research)

• Homepages from research centers and universities in e.g. UK, USA, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland

• Book chapters

Assessment of methodological quality

Papers selected for retrieval will be assessed by two independent reviewers for methodological validity prior to inclusion in the review using standardized critical appraisal instruments from the Joanna Briggs Institute Qualitative Assessment and Review Instrument (JBI-QARI)) (Appendix I). Any disagreements that arise between the reviewers will be resolved through discussion, or with a third reviewer.

Data collection

Data will be extracted from papers included in the review using the standardized data extraction tool from JBI-QARI (Appendix II). The data extracted will include specific details about the interventions, populations, study methods and outcomes of significance to the review question and specific objectives.

Data synthesis

Research findings will, where possible be pooled using JBI-QARI. This will involve the aggregation or synthesis of findings to generate a set of statements that represent that aggregation, through assembling the findings rated according to their quality, and categorizing these findings on the basis of similarity in meaning. These categories will then be subjected to a meta-synthesis in order to produce a single comprehensive set of synthesized findings that can be used as a basis for evidence based practice. Where textual pooling is not possible the findings will be presented in narrative form.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


I would like to acknowledge the valuable response and editorial help of Preben Ulrik Pedersen and Palle Larsen. Furthermore, I would like to acknowledge my place of work, Metropolitan University College, for organizing the training and technical support needed in order to carry out the work with this protocol and the coming article.


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                            Appendix I: Appraisal instruments

                            QARI Appraisal instrument

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                            Appendix II: Data extraction instruments

                            QARI data extraction instrument

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                            Alcohol; experience; family; consequence; emotion; harm; men; effect; problems; victim; attitude; interpretation; perception; child/children; neglect; normal; every-day; women; norm; behavior

                            © 2013 by Lippincott williams & Wilkins, Inc.