Women's decisions to seek specialty substance abuse treatment: A focused ethnography

Mary Bruno Maddocks, Marquette University


This study examined the experiences of seven women who were actively engaged in seeking publicly-funded specialty substance abuse treatment in Milwaukee County. The study used a focused ethnographic research methodology. A modified version of the Developmental Research Sequence (DRS) method (Spradley, 1979, 1980) was used to systemize the approach to data collection, data analysis, and interpretation of the study findings. Face-to-face open-ended interviews with informants provided the primary source of data for the study. Informants were asked to describe the factors that influenced both their current and past treatment-seeking experiences as well as barriers and facilitating factors which affected their treatment-seeking efforts. A computer assisted qualitative data analysis software program, NVIVO 7.0, was used to organize data into preliminary categories and subcategories for further analysis. The study identified a seven-step model of the decision-making process for seeking publicly-funded specialty treatment. This model is thought to be the first model to describe the treatment-seeking process from the perspective of women with substance use disorders. The results of this study provide important information regarding reasons for, and barriers to, treatment entry of use for treatment professionals, administrators and policy makers regarding how to close the treatment gap experienced by women with substance use disorders.

Recommended Citation

Maddocks, Mary Bruno, "Women's decisions to seek specialty substance abuse treatment: A focused ethnography" (2008). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI3357932.