Public perceptions of alcohol problems, treatment policies and treatment services: a Newfoundland perspective

Skinner, George William Newman (1989) Public perceptions of alcohol problems, treatment policies and treatment services: a Newfoundland perspective. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

Alcohol abuse has been under serious investigation particularly in the past forty years. This study explores and describes public perception and beliefs regarding alcohol problems; specifically it explores the association between these perceptions and beliefs and the public's willingness to utilize psychosocial treatment services; and it describes public expectation of treatment services and treatment personnel. Within this context, the study also investigated the impact of information regarding the competence of social workers in psychosocial treatment of problems related to alcohol abuse, in increasing the respondents' expressed willingness to utilize social workers as professionals in primary care for alcohol problems. -- The review of the literature indicates that an understanding of the use of alcohol in any population requires a knowledge of drinking behaviour and cultural interpretations of drinking and drinking problems within the population (Ablon, 1980). The perceptions of various facets of society in which the individual functions such as the family, the work setting and the community at large must be considered in order to arrive at an understanding of alcohol use, abuse and treatment. -- Recent studies have demonstrated the limitations of a unitary concept, that is the disease concept of alcoholism and have turned toward multi-dimensional factors relating to alcohol problems which require various forms of rehabilitative services (Mendelson and Mello, 1985). Ward (1980) suggested that alcohol problems be viewed as a symptom of a complex interactional process of the individual and his/her environment. -- With respect to professional social work responsibilities in the area of alcohol problems, it is important to consider that approximately 15-35% of clients who use various social services exhibit at least a secondary problem related to alcohol abuse (Kimberley, 1985). Considering specific addictions programs, social workers are responsible for a broad range of intervention, including psychosocial intervention and therapy within hospitals, psychiatric services, outpatient clinics, residential centres and private practice (Kimberley, 1985). -- This study focuses on an urban population utilizing a descriptive design with the target population being the male or female head of families within the city of St. John's, Newfoundland. The sample was a stratified random sample consisting of a survey population of two hundred households selected randomly from one of five census tracts as described by Statistics Canada. -- The findings of this study support a psychosocial orientation to the intervention with persons with alcohol problems. The family, workplace and community are seen as the agents severely affected by alcohol problems and as being agents for change in the intervention of drinking problems. Medical practitioners, social workers and psychologists were identified as potential care givers for individuals and families experiencing problems with alcohol. The results are discussed in relation to their implications for policy and program development. Recommendations are formulated on the basis of the survey results.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5947
Item ID: 5947
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 118-124.
Department(s): Social Work, School of
Date: 1989
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Alcoholism--Treatment--Newfoundland and Labrador--Public opinion; Alcoholism counseling--Newfoundland and Labrador--Public opinion

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