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ERIC Number: EJ992499
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 52
ISSN: ISSN-1367-6261
"I've Had a Pretty Tough Life but That's Not Why I Do This": Narratives of Autonomy and Control among Alcohol and Drug Service-Engaged Early Teenagers
MacLean, Sarah J.; Bruun, Andrew; Mallett, Shelley
Journal of Youth Studies, v16 n2 p206-221 2013
The provision of alcohol and other drug (AOD) programmes in Australia targeting a broad age range of young people may inadvertently obscure the particular service needs of early teenagers. In this study, we describe four main accounts of substance use identified through interviews with 20 AOD service-engaged participants in Victoria, aged from 13 to 15 years. These were: that their substance use is purposeful; that it is generally controlled; that their futures would involve competent substance use and that they did not require treatment. Each of these narratives rebuts a wider social construction of drug use as inevitably problematic and necessitating an institutional response. While participants' narratives of substance use resemble accounts made by older AOD users, they have particular implications for service delivery. We suggest that workers might both employ and seek to modify early teenagers' concerns about autonomy. First, services should work to be viewed by young people as resources for living well rather than as institutions designed to cure the sick and weak of will, and programmes should offer participants opportunities to enact desired selves without reliance on AOD. Second, we argue that valorising autonomy can be detrimental for already-marginalised early teenagers. Hence workers might over time encourage and resource young people to rethink this narrative of selfhood.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia