Abstract Investigations to explore and document the characteristics of addicted families are possible for nurse researchers in a variety of settings. Addicted families can be identified through hospitals, clinics, or community substance abuse treatment centers. Confidentiality issues must be addressed with carefully designed consent forms. A thorough understanding of addicted family systems is essential. System, role, and family theories provide a framework for understanding the influence of substance abuse on all family members. Anticipation of common social, economic, and criminal crises of addicted families will assist the researcher to avoid conflicts between research and service. Methodological limitations are common in research with addicted faamilies, but well-designed, descriptive studies with small- to moderate-sized self-selected samples can add greatly to our nursing knowledge base over time.