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Using a Constructivist Grounded Delphi Method to Define and Identify Problematic Substance Use

Bech, M. K. (2023). Using a Constructivist Grounded Delphi Method to Define and Identify Problematic Substance Use. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Background: The DSM-5 defines problematic substance use as substance use patterns resulting in functional impairment or distress. Most existing screening tools such as the AUDIT (Saunders et al., 1993) and DUDIT (Berman et al., 2005) are derived from this substance use disorder (SUD) construct. It is argued that the SUD construct does not present a sojourn time, deeming it inappropriate in the context of early detection of problematic substance use. It is further argued that there exists a lack of definitional clarity of what constitutes problematic substance use within the literature. Objectives: To define a problematic substance use construct informed by a psychological paradigm and to use the categories generated in the analytic process to develop a pilot inventory for potential future screening tools. Method: The study followed a qualitative design and employed a constructivist grounded Delphi method (CGDM) approach to data collection and analysis. Data were collected in two phases: (1) A focus group phase and (2) a Delphi survey administered to a mixed panel of experts by profession and experts by experience. Findings: A model to describe the process of how participants defined problematic substance use was constructed, comprising the analytic categories of evaluating substance use, quality of relating, level of safety, and experience of sober state. A definition for the construct of ‘problematic substance use’ and a pilot inventory based on this are proposed.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Bech thesis 2023 PDF-A redacted.pdf]
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