The Implications of Drug Treatment Practitioner Favourable Bias towards Illicit Drug Users, on Client Treatment Outcomes

Mallowan, Nicola (2013) The Implications of Drug Treatment Practitioner Favourable Bias towards Illicit Drug Users, on Client Treatment Outcomes. Doctoral thesis, Buckinghamshire New University.

Thesis for Nicola Mallowan April 2013.pdf
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This thesis is based around eight inter-related studies examining drug treatment practitioners’ (DTP) actual and perceived favourability towards illicit drugs and illicit drug users (IDU), and the impact it may have on clients’ drug treatment outcomes. Furthermore, the extent to which individual differences moderate levels of favourability are explored. It is impossible to study aspects of treatment success, without recognising the importance of the dyadic therapeutic alliance (TA) between DTP and IDU client. Consequently, this thesis draws upon the theory of symbolic interactionism (SI), which purports that social interactions shape, modify and develop the self, by aligning ones identity with the interpretations and performances with others. Thus, the TA can potentially be a fundamental aspect of recovery success. SI pertains to the notion that a blend of both quantitative and qualitative research brings strength to theoretical development, and provides an understanding of the connection between meanings and behaviour. Thus a mixed-method technique was employed to quantitatively develop and validate an ‘attitudes towards illicit drugs and drug users scale’ (ATIDDUS), so as to explore the association between actual and perceived favourability (in a number of different population samples), on clients’ drug treatment outcomes. Then, to qualitatively evaluate aspects of treatment that were considered to influence recovery success. The findings support the view that there is an association between TA rapport and clients’ treatment outcomes; particularly that DTPs do exhibit favourable bias towards IDUs, and that perception of DTP favourability was potentially associated to certain treatment outcomes (i.e. employment and no longer requiring aftercare). Further, aspects of the TA, such as continuity, trust and support were considered by current clients as aiding their treatment outcomes. The clinical implications of this research are, (1) on the recruitment of new DTPs; as individual differences in the general public were found to influence levels of favourability (e.g. personal/direct, and vicarious/non-direct experience with illicit drugs and IDUs improved favourability), (2) on the training and education of DTPs; DTPs were found to exhibit higher levels of favourability (when compared to the general public), yet it was significantly underestimated by clients. Thus indicating a requirement to address and enhance the disparity between actual and perceived favourability, so that clients can be positively influenced by DTPs’ favourable bias.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Depositing User: ULCC Admin
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2015 14:46
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2021 14:45

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