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"The drugs were a response to my life”: An exploration of the experiences of problematic drug use of women survivors of childhood sexual abuse who are in recovery

Kyrimi, S. (2021). "The drugs were a response to my life”: An exploration of the experiences of problematic drug use of women survivors of childhood sexual abuse who are in recovery. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)

Abstract

Women make up 25% of clients entering treatment for Problematic Drug Use (PDU; EMCDDA, 2008a). Treatment provision and PDU research are largely androcentric (Wincup, 2016), resulting in the underrepresentation of women and mirroring the oppressive societal power dynamics between the sexes (Langdridge & Hagger-Johnson, 2009). The majority of trauma-informed PDU research is quantitative, focusing on identifying Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) as risk factors for PDU (SAMHSA, 2019), without exploring the subjective meaning-making of this relationship. The aim of this qualitative study is to fill this gap in knowledge from a feminist standpoint and offer insight into the experiences of PDU of women Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA) survivors, in relation to their childhood trauma. The data was collected through individual, semi-structured interviews of six women CSA survivors, in recovery, describing how they experienced PDU. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) shed light on the following superordinate themes: ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Useful’, ‘Because of You’, ‘Living in the Shadow’, ‘Moving Forward’. The narratives within these themes revealed the negative and positive effects of PDU, the dynamic relationship between participants, others, and PDU, the impact of trauma, and the process of identity formation and reclaiming control in recovery. The relevance of these findings for Counselling Psychology and their implications for service design, treatment provision, and future research are discussed.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
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