Home > Exploring dog ownership in the lives of people with substance use disorder: a qualitative study.

Kerr-Little, Andi and Bramness, Jørgen G and Newberry, Ruth C and Biong, Stian (2023) Exploring dog ownership in the lives of people with substance use disorder: a qualitative study. Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 18, 57. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13722-023-00411-z.

External website: https://ascpjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10....

BACKGROUND Recovery from substance use is commonly seen as a process of integrating social relationships and creating a sense of meaning in one's life. Dog owners describe a close relationship with their dog that impacts many aspects of their everyday life. Yet for individuals with substance use disorder (SUD), little is known about how dog ownership could affect their lives. The aim of this study was to explore how people living with SUD experience and describe their everyday life when owning a dog.

METHOD Eight semi-structured in-depth individual interviews were conducted with people having personal experience of living with SUD and owning a dog. Data were gathered and analysed using qualitative content analysis.

RESULTS The analysis yielded four categories, reflecting different aspects of dog ownership. Living with SUD and owning a dog was primarily something positive in their life. People increased their social connections personally and within society. They felt a belonging which gave a sense of agency and purpose, and they developed structure in their day and boundaries to their environment. Dog ownership, however, could hinder access to services which was found to be challenging for some participants.

CONCLUSIONS The owning of a dog can lead to changes that parallel those of a recovery process. This finding adds to the research on the connection that dogs can provide and shows how pertinent this can be particularly for vulnerable persons such as those with SUD.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Identification #
Springer Nature

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