Skip navigation

Understanding women’s help-seeking for problematic and unhealthy alcohol use through the lens of complexity theory

Understanding women’s help-seeking for problematic and unhealthy alcohol use through the lens of complexity theory

Cane, Tam Chipawe, Newton, Paul ORCID: 0000-0002-8525-6763 and Foster, John ORCID: 0000-0002-7662-8203 (2022) Understanding women’s help-seeking for problematic and unhealthy alcohol use through the lens of complexity theory. Advances in Dual Diagnosis, 15 (2). pp. 119-139. ISSN 1757-0972 (Print), 2042-8324 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1108/ADD-12-2021-0019)

[img]
Preview
PDF (AAM)
35165_FOSTER_Understanding_womens_help_seeking.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (571kB) | Preview

Abstract

Purpose
It is well established that women face multiple barriers to accessing treatment for problematic and unhealthy alcohol use, but less is known about how their interconnected problems affect how they seek help from, and access, alcohol-treatment services. This study explores the dynamic nature of women’s help-seeking for problematic and unhealthy alcohol use and how this can be compounded by unsuitable treatment services, especially when women present with complex needs.
Design/methodology/approach
Thirteen semi-structured interviews with women who had accessed alcohol-support services were conducted, audio-recorded, transcribed, and analysed thematically using complexity theory.
Findings
For women with complex needs, the process of seeking help may trigger unpredictable behaviours, health or social problems, and intermittent serial access to treatment. Current services don’t always address women’s holistic needs. Unless services focus on addressing interconnected problems – including historic trauma – they may compound the complexity of women’s problems. Complexity theory offers novel insights into this process, a concept not applied to problematic and unhealthy alcohol use treatment previously.
Practical implications
Services should adopt non linear approaches to treatment. Implementing complexity approaches to treating women’s problematic and unhealthy alcohol use should capture the dynamics, complexity, and non linear nature of women’s help seeking journeys as well as their internal and external responses that may result in relapse. We recommend complexity-focused, multiple-component, integrated collaborative strategies to address not only addiction but all components of women’s needs – including past trauma.
Originality/value
Applying complexity-thinking to help-seeking experiences for alcohol treatment and recovery services is novel, and proved useful in understanding the variety of women’s experiences and how these interact with their help-seeking behaviours, including treatment environments.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: 'This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact permissions@emerald.com.'
Uncontrolled Keywords: women’s help-seeking, women’s alcohol misuse, complex adaptive systems, complexity theory
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Institute for Lifecourse Development
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Institute for Lifecourse Development > Centre for Mental Health
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Health Sciences (HEA)
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2022 12:59
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/35165

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics