Sitting in limbo: transformative change through drug and alcohol education at university

Fulton, Archie (2019) Sitting in limbo: transformative change through drug and alcohol education at university. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Transformative learning has been described as an important theory to understand how adults can develop and change their perspectives through education. Adopting longitudinal approach, this Study investigated perspective change in students’ beliefs about drugs and alcohol, through their experience of studying drugs and alcohol at university.
The research involved a longitudinal study of 35 students at three universities, with a focus on those students with lived experience of drugs and alcohol. This involved multiple case studies with a mixed methods approach to the collection of data, mostly qualitative, at three time points during the students’ studies. In addition, data were analysed regarding the reflections of eleven teachers about the students’ change in perspectives.
The findings indicate that students changed their perspectives with an increased willingness to accommodate different beliefs and became more flexible in their approach to drug and alcohol practice. One of the more significant findings suggests that students often retain personal beliefs about drugs and alcohol, which are contradictory to their changed practice beliefs. A feature for many students was that they frequently held contrary beliefs simultaneously, which over the time of the Study indicated a continuing accommodation of conflicting beliefs. The findings suggest this liminal state is more permanent than temporary.
It was identified by both students and teachers that a supportive environment, in terms of a community of practice, and being challenged, contributed significantly toward facilitating perspective change. It was also indicated that the key subject of ‘Theories of Addiction’ facilitated both a challenge and a change of perspective. Resulting from their studies, students increased their confidence in practice and personal development.
An important implication of this Study is the positive role university can contribute to the personal development of students and providing an educated, informed drug and alcohol workforce in the UK.
What makes this study an original contribution to the literature is that it reports on the impact of a university experience in the UK on the perspective transformation of beliefs among students with lived experience of drugs and alcohol.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Transformative change, drug and alcohol university education.
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Osborne, Professor Mike
Date of Award: 2019
Depositing User: mr Archie Fulton
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-74282
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2019 15:31
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2020 22:18
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.74282

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