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“Smoke weed, sit up all night, go on the rob, would you want to live like this”?...: young people’s experiences of substance misuse and offending

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Conference paperpeer-review

  • Ben Harper
Publication date20/06/2013
<mark>Original language</mark>English
EventSecond Conference on Applied Qualitative Research in Psychology - Warwick University, Warwick, United Kingdom
Duration: 20/06/2013 → …


ConferenceSecond Conference on Applied Qualitative Research in Psychology
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period20/06/13 → …


Previous research has indicated that young people with low self-control who engage in substance misuse are more likely to commit crimes and continue to offend. The current literature on substance misuse and offending has been criticised for focusing on risk and causal relationships, at the detriment to understanding the lived experience of offending. The current study explored the lived experience of 6 young people aged 16-18, labelled as ‘high risk’ and ‘chronic substance mis-users’ in a North West Youth Offending Service (YOS). Young people were interviewed and transcripts analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Three super ordinate themes emerged, 1. Conflicting boundaries, 2. Search for belonging and 3. Poverty of experiences. Young people experienced an ‘inevitable’ draw in offending behaviour and substance misuse whilst simultaneously describing dissatisfaction with their life circumstances.

The authors provide systemic recommendations that challenge the medical model of ‘addiction’ used to shape young people’s substance misuse services. Delegates are invited to engage in wider discussions in how we offer developmentally appropriate service for this marginalised group.