Date of Award

Fall 2008

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Campbell, Todd C.

Second Advisor

Melchert, Timothy

Third Advisor

Pink, William


The purpose of this study is to add to the extant literature on the factors affecting treatment-seeking for women who were seeking publicly-funded specialty substance abuse treatment. While many barriers have been consistently identified in studies of barriers to treatment for addicted women, Allen (1992) cautions that "even when similar socio-environmental circumstances are present, women are not a homogeneous group" (p. 63). She takes the view that "unique situational and contextual circumstances affect the motivation of an individual woman to cope with barriers that exist for women as individuals or as a group" (p. 63). As a substance abuse counselor in training interviewing persons with long histories of problematic substance use, I have often asked myself the question why now - why has the person made a decision to enter substance use treatment at this time? I was particularly interested in investigating this question with female substance users since most of my training experience had involved working with male populations. I also understood that there were gender differences on treatment-seeking and I was disappointed that few studies focused on women seeking treatment. My study involved interviewing seven Milwaukee County women who were currently seeking publicly-funded specialty substance abuse treatment. I used a qualitative research design, specifically a form of ethnography sometimes referred to as a focused ethnography (LeCompte and Schensul, 1999), to hear each woman's unique story, from her perspective. I hoped to learn the reasons why and how each of these women made decisions regarding entering substance abuse treatment as well as the factors that facilitated or hindered them in making these decisions. I also wanted to identify common themes regarding the factors that influenced their treatment-seeking at various steps of the process...



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