Experienced and anticipated discrimination reported by individuals in treatment for substance use disorders within the Netherlands


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Abstract

Experiences and expectations of discrimination (anticipated discrimination) may delay treatment seeking among people with substance use disorders. In addition, experienced and anticipated discrimination can be a barrier to successful recovery and rehabilitation. The aim of this study was to study the level of experienced and anticipated (the expectation to be rejected) discrimination among individuals in treatment for substance use disorders as well as the association between both concepts of discrimination. In addition, the association of experienced and anticipated discrimination with clinical and social characteristics was investigated. A cross-sectional survey among individuals in treatment for substance use disorders in the Netherlands was carried out in 2012. Individuals in treatment (N = 186) completed a self-reported questionnaire about experienced and anticipated discrimination. Descriptive statistics and chi-squared analyses were performed to investigate the level of experienced and anticipated discrimination and the association between both concepts. Linear regression analyses were used to investigate the association with clinical and social characteristics, such as occupational status and type of treatment. Individuals in treatment for substance use disorders reported high levels of experienced and anticipated discrimination. Respondents experienced most discrimination in family ties, intimate relationships and friendships. Experienced and anticipated discrimination were both positively correlated. Having complex substance use problems and a longer history of substance use problems was related to higher levels of experienced discrimination. In conclusion, experienced and anticipated discrimination were highly prevalent among individuals in treatment for substance use disorders. Attention in addiction treatment for adequate coping with discrimination may be needed in order to achieve successful social participation and rehabilitation of these individuals.

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