Purpose: To examine the overall impact of alcohol and drug problems on a sample of Italian family members.
Sample: 113 family members affected by and concerned about the problem drinking or drug-taking of close relatives recruited from the North (N=37), the Centre (N=26) and the South (N=50) of Italy.
Measurements: Family Member Impact scale (FMI), Symptom Rating Test (SRT), Coping Questionnaire (CQ) and Hopefulness–Hopelessness scale (HOPE).
Findings: There is a high level of impact on family members; the greater the impact, the higher the symptom levels; and the greater both the impact and symptoms are, the more types of coping behaviour are used. Multiple regression showed that the most important variables relating to overall symptom levels reported by family members were total coping, gender and impact. These data lend further support to the Stress-Strain-Coping-Support model (Orford et al., 2005a, b).