The Effects of Substance Abuse on the Roles and Occupations of Women with Substance Use Disorders.

Humayra Rawat, Stacey Lisa Petzer, Thavanesi Gurayah



Rawat,H ;Petzer, S.L. ;Gurayah,T. 

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School of Health Sciences, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal 


Literature regarding the psychosocial sequelae of substance abuse is largely androcentric and limited regarding the negative effects on women’s functioning. This study aims to explore the effects of substance abuse on the roles and occupations of women.



This phenomenological qualitative study utilized a purposive snowball sampling strategy to recruit women with a history of substance abuse. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six participants.



Six main themes emerged. The themes alluded to the participants’ neglect of self-care, sleep, and IADL (instrumental activities of daily living) responsibilities. They were socially isolated, and their work lives suffered because of their substance abuse.



The study concluded that substance abuse negatively affects a woman’s ability to engage in her daily occupations and unique roles. Inadequate self-care, debt, neglect of child-rearing roles and work underperformance were some consequences of their abuse. However, it was found that the adoption of new roles associated with advocacy and altruism facilitated the recovery process. The findings can be used to create gender specific interventions for women with substance use disorders.

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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