Journal Article

Coping Styles in Persons Recovering from Substance Abuse

Kathleen Valtonen, Michele Sogren and Jacqueline Cameron-Padmore

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 36, issue 1, pages 57-73
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online September 2005 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Coping Styles in Persons Recovering from Substance Abuse

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This qualitative study was conducted among persons recovering from substance abuse. The data were collected in three rehabilitation facilities in Trinidad in 2002–03. The aim was to examine the types of coping strategies which subjects used and learned in response to stressful and problematic life situations, starting with experiences related to childhood and socialization. The coping styles reported were overwhelming in the category of emotion-focused coping, developed in the main to regulate stress in uncontrollable situations in childhood and to cope with the loss of significant others. Only a minority used, or were able to use, problem-focused or social support coping strategies to meet stressful events. It is suggested that the observed bias in the development of the individuals’ coping ‘armamentarium’ might have had, in the long run, negative implications for individuals’ capacity to meet ongoing challenges of life. This has critical implications for how we fashion preventive approaches to the problem of substance abuse.

Keywords: coping styles; substance abuse; stress; childhood; adolescence

Journal Article.  6604 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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