Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Document Type



Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Name

Master of Marriage and Family Therapy

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Lisa Merchant

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Dale Bertram

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Lisa Powell


Addiction is a rapidly growing problem for many couples, but most treatment plans focus solely on the individual with a substance abuse diagnosis rather than taking a systemic approach. Investigating the power dynamics of couples who have been through addiction and recovery could assist future treatment plans to include underlying factors in relationships instead of only addressing symptoms of the problem. This grounded theory research study strives to understand the power shift within couples when one partner goes from being in active addiction to being sober for one year or more. Power is viewed through the four aspects that Knudson-Martin and Mahoney (2009) developed, which include relative status, well-being, attention to the other, and accommodation patterns. Interviews were conducted using four grand tour questions based on Knudson-Martin and Mahoney’s (2009) characteristics of power, then data was analyzed using the four-step process described by Charmaz (2006). The resulting model illustrated how power changes as this couple transitioned from active addiction to recovery.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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