Malin Axelsson; Nettan Eliasson , pp. 78. MAM/Sektionen för Management, 2007.
Alcohol and drug abuse is something that undoubtedly exists in our society today. Our interest in this area was inspired by an earlier study of the influence of socialization on these dependencies. From this we developed new hypotheses concerning men and women’s drug and alcohol abuse. The main purpose of this study was to highlight the experiences and reflections of six women and seven men on their own alcohol or drug abuse. We hoped to reach an understand of how these men and women perceived the road to, the time during, and the way out of their addictions.
Our research methods were qualitative and material was collected on their life history by conducting semi-structured interviews, mostly through email. Two interviews were carried out in a different manner; one occurred over the telephone and another in person. Of the selected individuals, seven were men and six were women, all of whom have had a history of alcohol and/or drug abuse but now are alcohol and drug free.
Our exploration of the topic began with a literature study where earlier research had showed that drug and alcohol abuse among men and women could have different causes and forms, but that there are common factors as well between them.
Our collected information was analysed using a narrative analysis, and the result was consistent with Erving Goffman’s theory of stigmatisation and Robert W. Connell’s theories on gender and gender relations.
The result was that many differences could be seen between men and women, but that typical gender-related patterns were also seen, for example that the men spoke more about their work and the women more about their children. When looking at a chronological timeline of the individual’s life it was clear how one event often caused another event, and we could see how these affected the person.
From this we concluded that an individual’s childhood and adolescence could contribute to a feeling of being an outsider and that through alcohol and drugs they are able to find a community they can be accepted in and a new way to define themselves. To summarize, the study showed that there are more similarities than differences between men and women and that their interpretation of their addictions demonstrates similar thought patterns in regards to feeling like an outsider, social ties, abuse and children, their sense of self, confirmation and insights.
Malin Axelsson, 073-6637327, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nettan Eliasson, 070-6019070, email@example.com