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Substance use and treatment needs: constructions of gender in Swedish addiction care
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD).
2015 (English)In: Contemporary Drug Problems, ISSN 0091-4509, E-ISSN 2163-1808, Vol. 42, no 3, 188-208 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Men’s and women’s drinking tend to elicit different societal reactions, which may be attributed to different perceptions of masculinity and femininity. This study analyzes addiction care practitioners’ constructions of substance use and treatment needs in relation to gender. Data were collected by means of six focus group interviews with 30 addiction care practitioners. An interpretative repertoire of difference emerged, whereby women were constructed as being different from men in psychological, social, and biological respects. The practitioners related to gender in addiction care as an ideological dilemma resulting from the contradictory ideals of on the one hand treating everybody equally and on the other giving special attention to what is regarded as women’s needs. Reflections emerged regarding the need to be aware of one’s own stereotyped assumptions, and also to be attentive toward men’s specific problems, thus constituting a reflective repertoire. In order to avoid potentially stereotyped treatment, the application of a gender-sensitive approach should acknowledge the variety of ways in which femininity and masculinity may be performed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 42, no 3, 188-208 p.
Keyword [en]
addiction care, gender-sensitive approach, practitioners, interpretative repertoires, ideological dilemma, focus group interviews
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-112129DOI: 10.1177/0091450915592912OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-112129DiVA: diva2:778196
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2007-2131
Available from: 2015-01-09 Created: 2015-01-09 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Use or Misuse?: Addiction Care Practitioners’ Perceptions of Substance Use and Treatment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Use or Misuse?: Addiction Care Practitioners’ Perceptions of Substance Use and Treatment
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis has been to study boundary-making in addiction care practitioner’s perceptions of substance use and treatment. The four papers are based on three data collections in Swedish outpatient addiction care: a) a survey conducted in 2006 (n=655), b) a factorial survey using randomly constructed vignettes conducted in 2011 (n=474), and c) a focus group interview study from 2013 (n=30) with a sample of the respondents from the factorial survey.

The analyses show that practitioners tend to draw boundaries between various forms of substance use, with alcohol use being perceived as a less severe problem than narcotics use and requiring less extensive treatment measures. There are also partially varying perceptions in different parts of addiction care. By comparison with social services staff, regional healthcare staff generally see a greater need for treatment, recommend medical treatment to a greater extent, and display less confidence in the possibility of handling problematic use without professional treatment. Despite an ongoing medicalization at the policy level, psychosocial treatment interventions appear to have legitimacy in both regional healthcare and social services settings.

Boundary-making processes are also found in relation to the specific user’s age, family situation, socio-economic status and in some cases gender, with young women’s drinking being seen as more severe than young men’s drinking for example. The boundary-making between different substance users may be interpreted as a sign of an approach based on a professional consideration of the person’s socially exposed situation, which might require more comprehensive support. At the same time, it may be an expression of a stereotyped approach, involving a normative evaluation of women’s behaviour as being more deviant than men’s, thereby having a limiting effect on the conduct norms that regulate women’s behaviour and making the problems of men invisible. To avoid disparities in addiction care delivery, it is of major importance that practitioners are given room to reflect upon the assumptions and values that underlie the assessments they make in practice. Combining a factorial survey with focus group interviews is proposed as one means of facilitating this type of reflection. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Social Work, Stockholm University, 2015. 121 p.
Series
Stockholm studies in social work, ISSN 0281-2851 ; 30Dissertations at the Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD), 14
Keyword
substance use, treatment, practitioners’ perceptions, social services, regional healthcare, factorial survey, multi-level analysis, focus group interviews, discourse analysis, Sweden
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-112132 (URN)978-91-7649-060-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-02-13, Aula Svea, Socialhögskolan, Sveavägen 160, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2006-1523
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Submitted. Paper 4: Submitted.

Available from: 2015-01-22 Created: 2015-01-09 Last updated: 2017-11-22Bibliographically approved

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