‘I just wanted a change, a positive change’: Locating hope for young people engaged with residential alcohol and drug services in Victoria, Australia

Gabriel Caluzzi*, Sarah MacLean, Rebecca Gray, Jen Skattebol, Joanne Neale, Joanne Bryant

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

In this article, we investigate young people’s involvement with residential alcohol and other drug (AOD) services as part of their broader engagement with hope. This study draws on qualitative interviews conducted with 20 young people aged 17–23 from Victoria, Australia, who were either in, or had recently left, residential AOD services. Interviews explored their experiences with AOD services and included questions about their hopes for the future. We found hope located in social relationships, productive discourses and AOD settings themselves. Hope also presented differently according to the external resources young people had available to them, giving some young people greater capacity to action their hoped-for futures than others. Given many young people seek reimagined futures as part of their use of residential AOD services, this creates a valuable opportunity for services to help shape achievable hopes and boost service engagement. We suggest that hope can materialise in a variety of ways but caution against relying on it as a motivational strategy without providing young people with other resources. A more sustainable narrative of hope may require a solid foundation of resources, allowing young people with AOD problems to gain a sense of control over their lives and their imagined futures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1691-1708
Number of pages18
JournalSociology of Health and Illness
Volume45
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Keywords

  • drug and alcohol services
  • hope
  • qualitative
  • resources
  • young people

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