Family profile of heroin users in Mansoura, Egypt

Mohammed Elmahdy, Osman Elsayed, Roshdy Elgamal, Mohammed Shahda, Hamdy Fouad Moselhy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The primary aim of this study was to compare family structures and functions in male patients dependent on heroin and normal controls. METHOD: Eighty patients and 20 controls were recruited from inpatient units at 2 teaching hospitals in Mansoura, Egypt. A predesigned questionnaire was administered to assess family functioning (self-reports), and the DSM IV clinical criteria were used to assess psychopathology. RESULTS: A wide range of family dysfunctions was reported by these patients: parental separation/divorce was higher in the group of dependents compared with the control group (18.8% vs. 10%), having a step mother (31.3% vs. 15%), the main caring person in the family was father (11.3% vs. 0%), mother (8.8% vs. 35%), or both parents (33.8% vs. 60%). Positive family history for substance abuse was significantly higher among heroin users (siblings 12.5% vs. 5%; father 6.3% vs. 5%; mother 3.8% vs. 0%; both parents 15% vs. 5%). Negative feelings toward parents were common in heroin users. In addition, perceptions of a negative attitude from parents were also higher. Moreover, aggressive response as a result of unacceptable behaviors was higher among heroin users: verbal aggression (12.5 vs. 0%), physical aggression (16.3% vs. 0%). Furthermore, religious affiliation was more likely to be less in heroin users' families as 61.3% compared with 85% of nonusers' families with marginally significant differences. Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that family dysfunctions are common in this group of patients. This will need to be considered in the treatment of this group of patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-122
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Disorders and their Treatment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Egypt
  • family functioning
  • heroin users

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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