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Article

Douglas Polcin

Persons with serious alcohol and drug problems who are attempting to maintain abstinence often lack an alcohol- and drug-free living environment that supports sustained…

Abstract

Purpose

Persons with serious alcohol and drug problems who are attempting to maintain abstinence often lack an alcohol- and drug-free living environment that supports sustained recovery. Residential recovery homes, called “sober living houses” in California, are alcohol- and drug-free living environments that offer long-term support for persons with addictive disorders. They do not offer formal treatment services but usually encourage or mandate attendance at self-help recovery groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach involved analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of different research designs for studying residential recovery homes. Alternatives to randomized designs that are able to capture “real world” data that are readily generalized are described and understudied topics are identified.

Findings

A significant limitation of traditional randomized designs is they eliminate mutual selection processes between prospective residents and recovery home residents and staff. Naturalistic research designs have the advantage of including mutual selection processes and there are methods available for limiting self-selection bias. Qualitative methods should be used to identify factors that residents experience as helpful that can then be studied further. Innovative studies are needed to investigate how outcomes are affected by architectural characteristics of the houses and resident interactions with the surrounding community.

Practical implications

Use of the recommended strategies could lead to findings that are more informative, intuitively appealing, and interpretable.

Social implications

Recovery homes and similar programs will be more responsive to consumers.

Originality/value

This paper represents one of the first to review various options for studying recovery homes and to provide suggestions for new studies.

Details

Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, vol. 36 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0964-1866

Keywords

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Article

Rebecca DeGuzman, Rachael Korcha and Douglas Polcin

Persons in the USA who are incarcerated for drug offenses are increasingly being released into the community as a way to decrease prison and jail overcrowding. One…

Abstract

Purpose

Persons in the USA who are incarcerated for drug offenses are increasingly being released into the community as a way to decrease prison and jail overcrowding. One challenge is finding housing that supports compliance with probation and parole requirements, which often includes abstinence from drugs and alcohol. Sober living houses (SLHs) are alcohol- and drug-free living environments that are increasingly being used as housing options for probationers and parolees. Although a few studies have reported favorable outcomes for residents of SLHs, little is known about resident experiences or the factors that are experienced as helpful or counterproductive. The paper aims to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

This study conducted qualitative interviews with 28 SLH residents on probation or parole to understand their experiences living in the houses, aspects of the houses that facilitated recovery, ways residence in an SLH affected compliance with probation and parole, and ways the houses addressed HIV risk, a widespread problem among this population. Interviews were audiotaped and coded for dominant themes.

Findings

Study participants identified housing as a critically important need after incarceration. For residents nearing the end of their stay in the SLHs, there was significant concern about where they might live after they left. Residents emphasized that shared experiences and goals, consistent enforcement of rules (especially the requirement of abstinence) and encouragement from probation and parole officers as particularly helpful. There was very little focus in HIV issues, even though risk behaviors were fairly common. For some residents, inconsistent enforcement of house rules was experienced as highly problematic. Research is needed to identify the organizational and operational procedures that enhance factors experienced as helpful.

Research limitations/implications

Data for this study are self-reported views and experiences. Therefore, the study may not tap into a variety of reasons for resident experiences. In addition, the data set was small (n=28) and limited to one city in the USA (Los Angeles), so generalization of results might be limited. However, SLHs represent an important housing option for criminal justice involved persons and knowledge about resident experiences can help guide organization and operation of houses and identify areas for further research.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to document the views and experiences of persons on probation or parole who reside in sober living recovery houses. These data can be used by SLH operators to develop houses that are responsive to factors experienced as helpful and counterproductive. The significance of this paper is evident in the trend toward decreasing incarceration in the USA of persons convicted of drug offenses and the need for alcohol- and drug-free alternative living environments.

Details

Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, vol. 40 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0964-1866

Keywords

Content available
Article

Friedner Wittman, Douglas Polcin and Dave Sheridan

Roughly half a million persons in the USA are homeless on any given night and over a third of those individuals have significant alcohol/other drug (AOD) problems. Many…

Abstract

Purpose

Roughly half a million persons in the USA are homeless on any given night and over a third of those individuals have significant alcohol/other drug (AOD) problems. Many are chronically homeless and in need of assistance for a variety of problems. However, the literature on housing services for this population has paid limited attention to comparative analyses contrasting different approaches. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors examined the literature on housing models for homeless persons with AOD problems and critically analyzed how service settings and operations aligned with service goals.

Findings

The authors found two predominant housing models that reflect different service goals: sober living houses (SLHs) and housing first (HF). SLHs are communally based living arrangements that draw on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. They emphasize a living environment that promotes abstinence and peer support for recovery. HF is based on the premise that many homeless persons with substance abuse problems will reject abstinence as a goal. Therefore, the HF focus is providing subsidized or free housing and optional professional services for substance abuse, psychiatric disorders, and other problems.

Research limitations/implications

If homeless service providers are to develop comprehensive systems for homeless persons with AOD problems, they need to consider important contrasts in housing models, including definitions of “recovery,” roles of peer support, facility management, roles for professional service, and the architectural designs that support the mission of each type of housing.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to consider distinct consumer choices within homeless service systems and provide recommendations to improve each based upon architecture and community planning principles.

Details

Drugs and Alcohol Today, vol. 17 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1745-9265

Keywords

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Article

Elien Neimeijer, Judith Kuipers, Nienke Peters-Scheffer, Peer Van der Helm and Robert Didden

The purpose of this study is to provide an in-depth account of how individuelas with a mild intellectual disabilitiy or borderline intellectual functioning (MID-BIF; IQ…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to provide an in-depth account of how individuelas with a mild intellectual disabilitiy or borderline intellectual functioning (MID-BIF; IQ 50–85) perceive their group climate in a secure forensic setting. Giving voice to these service users may provide relevant insights for secure forensic settings.

Design/methodology/approach

The interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to explore what individuals with MID-BIF experience with regard to their group climate.

Findings

In the interviews about the four domains of group climate (i.e. repression, support, growth and atmosphere), five overarching dimensions appeared, namely, autonomy, uniformity, recognition, competence and dignity. Depending on the person and the (treatment) context in which he/she resides, these five dimensions relate to all four factors of the group climate instrument.

Originality/value

From the perspective of individuals with MID-BIF, this study contributes by providing a framework to “fine-tune” group climate on five dimensions. Training socio-therapists to be sensitive to interpret ambiguous signals on these dimensions can contribute to optimizing group climate in secure forensic settings.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-8824

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Article

David William Best, Catherine Haslam, Petra Staiger, Genevieve Dingle, Michael Savic, Ramez Bathish, Jock Mackenzie, Melinda Beckwith and Dan I. Lubman

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how social identity change can support the TC objective of promoting “right living”. This is compatible with the literature on…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how social identity change can support the TC objective of promoting “right living”. This is compatible with the literature on addiction recovery which has shown that identity change is central to this process. While much of the earlier literature focussed primarily on an individual analysis of change, there is a growing body of research showing the important contribution that social networks, social group membership and associated social identities make to sustainable change.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper describes baseline data for a multi-site prospective cohort study of 308 clients entering therapeutic community (TC) treatment and characterizes the presenting profile of this cohort on a range of social identity and recovery measures at the point of TC entry.

Findings

The sample was predominantly male with a mean age of 35 years, with the large majority having been unemployed in the month before admission. The most commonly reported primary substance was methamphetamine, followed by alcohol and heroin. The sample reported low rates of engagement in recovery groups, but access to and moderate degrees of social support was also reported in the period prior to admission.

Research limitations/implications

The paper highlights the important role that TCs play in facilitating identity change and in promoting sustainable recovery.

Practical implications

The paper discusses opportunities for working with social identities both during residence and in community re-integration, and highlights what TCs can do to support and sustain recovery.

Social implications

The paper brings to light the potential contribution of social group membership and social identity change to management of recovery in TC settings.

Originality/value

The study described provides an innovative way of assessing TC effectiveness and testing novel questions about the role of social identity and recovery capital as key predictors of change.

Details

Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, vol. 37 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0964-1866

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Article

Leo Pyle

Briefly outlines the role of new distillation technology in the recoveryand management of natural flavours. Often processing leads to the lossor deterioration in the…

Abstract

Briefly outlines the role of new distillation technology in the recovery and management of natural flavours. Often processing leads to the loss or deterioration in the flavour characteristics of foods and drinks, especially when compared with fresh starting materials. Aims to show that some of these effects can be mitigated by good process engineering; and uses the role of spinning cone distillation processes, on which the author currently is researching, to illustrate the argument. Summarizes the principal features of spinning cone technology, together with the advantages of the technology for flavour recovery: these include high selectivity and efficiency, mild operating conditions, low residence times and multistage operation, which, inter alia, allow low stripping rates, while producing flavour concentrates. Briefly mentions some current applications including flavour management in the production of fruit concentrates, the production of reduced alcohol drinks, and, in the context of clean technologies, the use of the technology for flavour recovery and odour removal.

Details

Nutrition & Food Science, vol. 94 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0034-6659

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Article

Maggie Hitchman

Maggie Hitchman, artist and service user, offers an inspiring account of her experiences as a volunteer and artist‐in‐residence at her local psychiatric inpatient hospital…

Abstract

Maggie Hitchman, artist and service user, offers an inspiring account of her experiences as a volunteer and artist‐in‐residence at her local psychiatric inpatient hospital in Gloucestershire. Using her creative skills as an artist, Maggie was involved in a number of art projects within the occupational therapy department, developed in partnership with service users and staff, which aimed to promote hope, recovery and social inclusion.

Details

Mental Health and Social Inclusion, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-8308

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Article

Sarah V. Suiter and C. Danielle Wilfong

The purpose of this paper is to explore women’s experiences in one such social enterprise, and to analyze the ways in which this social enterprise supports and/or…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore women’s experiences in one such social enterprise, and to analyze the ways in which this social enterprise supports and/or undermines its employees’ health and well-being. Finding and keeping employment during recovery from addiction is a strong predictor of women’s ability to maintain sobriety and accomplish other important life goals. Many treatment organizations have programs that support job readiness and acquisition; however, less priority is placed on the quality of the workplaces and their consequences for continued health and well-being. Social enterprises that exist for the purpose of employing women in recovery have the potential to be health-promoting workspaces, but understanding how health is supported for this particular population is important.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper provides an ethnographic account of Light Collective, a social enterprise run by women in recovery from addiction. Data were collected through 2 years of participant observation, 38 interviews and 2 focus groups. Data were analysed using a grounded theory approach.

Findings

Light Collective provides a health-promoting workplace by keeping barriers to employment low and making work hours and expectations individualized and flexible. Furthermore, the organization creates a setting in which work is developmentally nurturing, provides the opportunity for meaningful mastery and serves to build community amongst women who are often marginalized and isolated in more traditional contexts.

Originality/value

This study contributes to literature exploring the potential for social enterprises to create health-promoting workplaces by focusing the types of workplace commitments required to support a particularly vulnerable population. This study also explores some of the challenges and contradictions inherent in trying to create health-promoting work environments vis-à-vis the constraints of broader economic systems.

Details

Social Enterprise Journal, vol. 16 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-8614

Keywords

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Article

Leela Hebbar

This paper aims to examine the impact of vocational training on unemployed workers not typically studied: women enrolled in engineering or computer programming training…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the impact of vocational training on unemployed workers not typically studied: women enrolled in engineering or computer programming training and high school dropouts.

Design/methodology/approach

Using data from New Jersey's Individual Training Grant (ITG) program and a quasi‐experimental design, the study compares the ITG groups' re‐employment and wage recovery rates with a matched comparison group.

Findings

The article finds that women enrolled in the male‐dominated fields of engineering or computer programming experience re‐employment rates that are lower than or similar to those in the comparison group, but they experience higher wage recovery in 8th and 12th quarters after claiming unemployment insurance (UI). Hispanic high school dropouts experience both higher re‐employment and wage recovery rates than their comparison group, but the wage recovery advantage disappears when those enrolled in truck driving training are removed from the sample. Further, white and black high school dropouts experience no re‐employment or wage recovery advantage. For all participants, the study finds participants experience a higher re‐employment rate than the comparison group beginning in the fifth quarter and experience no wage recovery advantage.

Research limitations/implications

To address the concern of selection bias, a difference‐in‐difference wage model controls for time‐variant differences in unobservables and an employment regression model controls for remaining differences in the matching variables.

Practical implications

These results suggest that training improves re‐employment chances and that type of training matters with respect to wage recovery. In this sample, those enrolled in truck driving training, engineering, and computer programming tended to experience higher wage recovery than their comparison group.

Originality/value

This paper examines the impact of vocational training on unemployed workers not typically studied.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

Keywords

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Article

Jason Jie Xiang Bui, Yee Yong Tan, Fu Ee Tang and Carrie Ho

This study aims to investigate the hydraulic behaviour of a pilot-scale, two-staged, vertical flow constructed wetland (VFCW) for septage treatment, in terms of factors…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the hydraulic behaviour of a pilot-scale, two-staged, vertical flow constructed wetland (VFCW) for septage treatment, in terms of factors such as hydraulic retention time and hydraulic loading rate and its influence on the treatment dynamics. Because of intermittent feeding mode of VFCW systems and variation in its loading, its hydraulic behaviour is highly variable and need to be understood to optimize its treatment performance.

Design/methodology/approach

Tracer test were carried out using bromide ion with varying hydraulic loading rates (HLR) of 6.82 cm/d, 9.09 cm/d and 11.40 cm/d (i.e. equivalent to 75 L/d, 100L/d and 125 L/d). Tracer data is then analysed using the Residence Time Distribution (RTD) method.

Findings

RTD analysis showed that the increase in HLR increases the average hydraulic retention time (HRT). Subsequently, the increase in HLR results in a lower recovery of effluent, resulting in poor productivity in treatment. The study also showed that the removal of nitrogen and organic matter improved with increasing HRT. However, observations show no correlation between HRT and total solids removal.

Originality/value

A performance evaluation method (by tracer) is proposed to understand the hydraulics of flow in constructed wetlands, which has not been widely studied. Additionally, the dynamics of treatment in VFCWs treating septage may also be revealed by the tracer method. The study can be applied to any constructed wetlands designed for treatment of wastewater, septage or sludge.

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