A research project exploring the use of excessive alcohol consumption and its impact on individuals who are homeless
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1.1 Introduction In recent years there has been a reduction in excessive alcohol consumption in the general population. However, within vulnerable populations, such as homeless samples, it has increased (Smith et al., 2009). Moreover, rates of homelessness in Great Britain are rising (Philipps, 2012). Research has acknowledged that alcohol abuse within these samples is a significant problem; therefore the impacts are worth exploring. Consequently, the aim of this project is to explore the impact that excessive alcohol consumption has on homeless individuals. 1.2 Method A qualitative design was used, conducting semi-structured interviews to collect data. Seven alcohol dependent participants (M=3; F=4) from supportive housing organisations in Wales were interviewed. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to analyse data. 1.3 Results Six superordinate themes were identified; Health implications, dependence, consequences of drinking, perceived explanations for drinking behaviour, inability to change, and attempt to change. Relevant emergent themes were recognised respectively. 1.4 Conclusion One of the key findings was the health implications caused by alcohol misuse in homeless populations. These ranged from short term problems, such as hangovers, to long term problems, such as kidney failure. Further, an inability to change drinking behaviour was overshadowed by perceived explanations of dependent drinking, such as perceived genetic vulnerability and boredom. Despite the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption and several attempts to change in the form of rehabilitation, abstention was unsuccessful.
B.Sc. (Hons) Psychology
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