Women and chemical dependency : a socialist feminist approach

Rebecca Catherine Raby
This thesis applies a socialist feminist analysis to our understanding of women and chemical dependency. Most addiction models, such as the disease model, are based on a male norm, and isolate the individual from society. The influences of social and economic inequality are ignored. Socialist feminism examines capitalist patriarchy and its perpetuation of such inequalities. Applying this theory to chemical dependency in women, the social context of addiction can be better understood. This
more » ... is is enhanced by the inclusion of qualitative and quantitative data collected as part of an evaluative report produced for Maiya House Society (Raby 1991). Forty-nine women who had completed chemical dependency treatment were interviewed. Women's experiences with chemical dependency are different from those of men. Women are more likely to use alcohol or prescription drugs than hard drugs, to experience social stigma, to develop alcohol-related health problems and to have been sexually abused. These experiences influence the treatment women require. Here, explorative findings suggest feminist, women-oriented treatment is needed. Also, post-treatment employment and a strong support network improve treatment success. Further research is necessary. The influence of gender roles and the experiences of chemically dependent women of colour and lesbian and bisexual women require investigation, as do the ramifications of feminist treatment.
doi:10.14288/1.0086612 fatcat:d7e23uenarevpmthhp32v33m6m