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Pinheiro, R.T. Sousa, P.L. Da Silva, R.A. Horta, B.L. De Souza, R.M. Fleming, M. (2001). Cocaine Addicts and their Families: An Empirical Study of the Processes of Identification. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 82(2):347-360.

(2001). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 82(2):347-360

Cocaine Addicts and their Families: An Empirical Study of the Processes of Identification

Ricardo Tavares Pinheiro, Paulo Luis Rosa Sousa, Ricardo Azevedo Da Silva, Bernardo Lessa Horta, Rosana Mendonça De Souza and Manuela Fleming

The processes of identification between adolescent cocaine addicts and their parents were studied in 402 subjects, in total 134 familial triads (father-mother-son), subdivided into two groups of 67 triads, one of these groups having as the child an adolescent of masculine sex dependent on cocaine and the other, equal in number, being a control group, duly matched for age and socio-economic status. The instrument employed was the Rorschach test (1922), limited to the application of the Lerner Defense Scale (LDS: Lerner & Lerner, 1980). The findings in the affected triads showed up as consistent statistically for the presence of intense processes of pathological identification, especially between father and son, a sign of the importance of the presence of disturbances of paternal function in the development of this addiction. The utilisation of very regressive defence mechanisms, above all of projective identification, was the predominant mode of procedure in triads with a dependent child. In comparisons between the fathers the odds ratio (OR) for projective identification was 8.66 to 1, which points to the association between cocaine addiction and the primitive mental functioning of the fathers. With empirical methodology these findings serve to corroborate the psychoanalytical conclusions based on studies of single case studies, testifying that the dysfunctions of identificatory phenomena in familial functioning are predominant in the mental organisation of cocaine addicts.

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