Non-adherence to group therapy in a community drug and alcohol outpatient unit: a thematic analysis

Monahan, Beverley Jane
du Preez, Elizabeth
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Master of Health Science
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Auckland University of Technology

The aim of this qualitative study was to gain a thorough understanding of non-adherence to group therapy in the context of a community alcohol and drug outpatient service in Auckland, New Zealand. This study explored themes within the participants’ experiences of attending group therapy. It identified themes that were supported by existing literature, and novel themes particular to this participant group. Substance abuse in New Zealand is a major problem, putting a strain on families, communities, and the health and legal systems (Ministerial Committee on Drug Policy, 2007). Studies have shown that attrition rates within the substance-using community is a well documented problem in outpatient units and severely limits the effectiveness of services (Laudet, Stanick, & Sands, 2009). Despite the extent of the problem of substance abuse in New Zealand, there appears to have been little study conducted focusing on the rates of attrition in treatment services in the New Zealand context, and the possible reasons for this. A qualitative research design was used, where semi-structured interviews were used to collect data. Through thematic analysis the researcher identified themes that contribute to non-adherence in these groups. Interviews were conducted at a Community Alcohol and Drug Services (CADS) unit in Auckland, New Zealand. Thematic networks enabled the researcher to explore the participants’ experiences in depth leading to the subsequent organising of themes for further analysis. Three global themes emerged, Participants, Group Factors and Accessibility. These themes were supported by a variety of organising and basic themes, all of which serve to enhance the understanding of the global themes. Relevant literature was integrated into the discussion, providing the reader with an understanding of the findings of this study within the context of group attrition.

Substance abuse , Substance dependence , Groups , Attrition , Outpatient clinic , New Zealand , Thematic analysis
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