Relational pathways to substance misuse and drug-related offending in women: The role of trauma, insecure attachment, and shame

Mette K. F. Kreis*, Kirsty Gillings, Jenny Svanberg, Matthias Schwannauer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Dysfunctional relationships are highlighted as a potential mediator between women's substance misuse and offending, but few studies have explored how. This qualitative study explored the role of interpersonal relationships to substance misuse and offending in women, and underlying psychological processes involved. Seven women offenders in community treatment for heroin dependence were interviewed. Data were analyzed using social constructivist grounded theory. A provisional model was constructed of the interconnection between family disconnection, dysfunctional intimate partner relationships, loss of children, and substance misuse and drug-related offending, within the context of complex trauma, insecure attachment, and shame. The potential significance of shame to women's substance misuse and offending has had little prior investigation. Interventions for women offenders with heroin addiction may need to consider all these relational psychological processes to adequately address recidivism risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-47
Number of pages13
JournalInternational journal of forensic mental health
Volume15
Issue number1
Early online date17 Mar 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Female offenders
  • relationships
  • addiction
  • trauma
  • attachment
  • shame
  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • gender differences
  • mental-illness
  • social support
  • childhood
  • prisoners
  • guilt
  • abuse
  • maltreatment

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