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Understanding young offenders’ experiences of drinking alcohol: An interpretative phenomenological analysis

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy
Issue number1
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)77-85
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date28/10/14
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Aims: Previous research has documented a clear association between drinking alcohol and engaging in criminal activity. However, it is unclear how this relationship is formed and maintained in young people. Such knowledge could be instructive in the appropriate design and effectiveness of prevention and intervention strategies. The aim of the present study was to gain a greater understanding of these two phenomena from the young person's perspective. Methods: Nine young offenders were interviewed about their experiences of drinking alcohol. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to analyse the data. Findings: Three main themes were identified, from initial experiences of using alcohol through the transition into offending and for some participants the resulting change in patterns of use. Conclusions: The study highlights the importance of personal values and meaning-making in both the initiation and desistance from alcohol use and criminal behaviour. In particular, the importance of family and peers in these processes suggests the utility of early family-based interventions.