The Other Half: Wives of Alcoholics and Their Social-Psychological Situation

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This current study has emerged from two decades of the author's investigations in related areas: alcoholism and domestic relations. Its canvas is broadly comparative, drawing on interviews and data gathered in the United States and Finland. The domestic drama of The Other Half is played out both in the private scene of the home and the more public scene of the workplace, and against these two differing national backgrounds. Despite the many expected and perceived cultural differences between the countries, the effects of alcoholism on the family are shown to be the same. Dr. Wiseman's study offers theoretical insights gleaned from its perspective on alcoholism as an interactive phenomenon, to which the concepts of G.H. Mead and Blumer can be applied to illuminate the carefully presented data and go beyond them. New terrain in studies of alcoholism is thereby explored, including such themes as the social construction by the subjects of their husbands' drinking, their marriage and their self-images; the strategy of coping mechanisms; and the effects of the crisis of alcoholism on gender, sex roles, and power differentials. The Other Half complements Dr. Wiseman's prize-winning work on the treatment of Skid Row alcoholics, Stations of the Lost, while involving issues of greater complexity on both the methodological and theoretical plane.