Stigma towards dependent drinking and its role on caregiving burden: A qualitative study from Goa, India

Sonali Kumar, Jaclyn Schess, Richard Velleman, Abhijit Nadkarni

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6 Citations (SciVal)
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Introduction: Stigma towards alcohol use disorders is prevalent in India and can lead to social exclusion and hamper treatment access and outcomes. Family members of individuals with dependent drinking are often their primary caregivers and play a key role in decisions around help-seeking, treatment and recovery. The nature and role of stigma in caregiving, and the consequent burden on family caregivers of those with dependent drinking, has not been qualitatively studied in India. Methods: We conducted in-depth interviews with: (i) men with probable alcohol dependence (n = 11); (ii) family caregivers (n = 12); and (iii) doctors with experience of treating alcohol dependence (n = 13) in community settings in Goa. Data were analysed using inductive thematic analysis. Results: Two primary themes were identified from the data: (i) stigma in the form of ignorance, prejudice and discrimination; and (ii) the impact of this stigma on caregiving decisions and the mental health of caregivers. Discussion and Conclusions: We found that stigma functioned as a barrier to a proper course of treatment and care, as well as a detrimental factor for caregiver's mental health and caregiving decision-making. Stigma towards dependent drinking in the forms of ignorance, prejudice and discrimination is prevalent within homes, workplaces and health systems and might exacerbate the caregiving burden among female family caregivers. Policies, educational programs and campaigns aimed at preventing stigma in these forms would likely enable access to more inclusive and appropriate health services, benefit the health of family caregivers and improve the treatment outcomes of drinkers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)778-786
Number of pages9
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Issue number4
Early online date6 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge Godwin Fernandes for logistical support and Urvita Bhatia for help with background research.


  • alcohol use disorder
  • caregiver burden
  • discrimination
  • India
  • stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)


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