University of Leicester
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Applying psychological theory to understand the difficulties and supporting factors in implementing family based approaches in alcohol treatment services

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posted on 2014-12-15, 10:46 authored by Claire Elizabeth Lee
The current study investigated staff perceptions regarding whether recommendations for family based approaches to be made available in alcohol treatment services were being implemented. This included exploration of factors that staff perceive may either impede or facilitate family based work.;There were two stages of data collection. Stage 1 involved collecting demographic and descriptive information from the participating services to establish the homogeneity of the sample and whether family work was offered by each service. For Stage 2, 18 staff from seven alcohol treatment services were recruited. Semi-structured interviews were audio-taped, with interview questions based on theoretical domains which explored respondents' perceptions of the implementation of the guidelines and family based work. The interview transcripts were analysed twice, initially to give an indication of the respondent's perception of the level of success of implementation but also to identify pre-determined theoretical domains which supported and impeded implementation of family based work. The transcripts were then reanalysed to indicate relationships between domains, to provide a hierarchical framework for organising the themes and to identify other themes which may have been missed in the first analysis.;The first analysis indicated variability in the level of success of implementation across services. Further exploration indicated factors contributing to more successful implementation which included staff believing that family work was likely to lead to positive results, providing it was compatible with their skills and perceptions of their role and identity, and they were motivated to provide it. Barriers to implementation identified by staff included: 'Environmental context and resources,' (e.g. lack of funding and time, inadequate space, inaccessible working hours and staffing levels); 'social influences' (e.g. lack of support from management and the team); and 'emotions' (e.g. fear, anxiety and lack of self-confidence in doing family work).;The study also identified facilitators and barriers to family work at different levels: Staff participant; problem drinker and family; and the organisation. The results suggested that staff perceptions of family based work, the culture of working within addiction services, and perceiving the problem as within the individual problem drinker were particular barriers to family based work. The study therefore demonstrates the importance of considering the social construction of the problem and the socio-cultural context to help facilitate implementation of family based work in alcohol treatment services.


Date of award


Author affiliation

Clinical Psychology

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • DClinPsy



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