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ERIC Number: ED546970
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 127
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-0952-9
Secondary School Experiences of Male Recovering Substance Abusers
Maher, Rebecca C.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Drake University
Problem: Adolescents who begin abusing substances, including alcohol, prescription drugs, and illegal drugs often fail in school suffering life-altering consequences (Cox, Zhang, Johnson, & Bender, 2007). While plentiful research exists on substance abuse, there is a dearth of research on the school experiences of recovering substance abusers. There is a lack of awareness of ways for families, schools, and agencies to recognize potential roadblocks to guide every student toward a successful learning environment. Methods: Using a phenomenological approach (Creswell, 2007) the lived experiences (Van Manen, 1990) of recovering substance abusers' secondary school experiences were explored. Using semi-structured interviews (Kvale, 1996), six adult males were interviewed 3 times (Seidman, 2006). Data collection consisted of verbatim transcriptions, my reflexive journaling and field notes, and member checks during and after the interview process. Open coding strategies (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) were used to determine emerging themes and commonalities. Findings: Participants' accounts revealed seven key themes of their secondary school experiences. 1. Importance of parental, sibling, and child relationships on child wellbeing. 2. Impact of parental practices on development of the child academically and emotionally. 3. Importance of peer influence and peer relationships on student behavior. 4. Human need for connectedness and purpose. 5. Relationship between participation in extra-curricular activities and school success. 6. Link between student-school relationships, school success, and avoidance of substance abuse. 7. Initiation and progression of substance abuse. Conclusions: Participants experienced a lack of a sense of belonging in different phases of their lives, and within the different groups to which they belonged. Consequently, participants sought acceptance through negative peers groups and substance use, progressing to increasingly self-destructive behaviors. They favored small school environments. The onset of substance abuse paralleled secondary school years resulting in academic decline, and failure to complete high school or post secondary education. Recommendations: Teachers may benefit from professional development on the emotional needs of all students using district resources to support programs at the elementary, middle school, and high school. Districts should collaborate and pool resources to provide services such as alternative programs. Importantly, individuals and families must have knowledge of and access to support available through programs that assist with family and parenting dysfunction, development of coping mechanisms, and early identification and treatment for substance abuse. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A