Date of Conferral



Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work


Dr. Lindy Lewis


Addiction is a national problem in the United States that impacts public health and social and economic welfare. The purpose of this case study was to identify barriers that impede treatment and hinder the success of client recovery from addiction. The research question focused on social work clinicians' perceptions of barriers to effective treatment with substance abuse clients in Coastal South Mississippi. The theoretical framework for this research was the reasoned action theory. Data was collected from a focus group, personal interviews, and the review of literature. Purposeful sampling was used to select 13 social workers for interviews and for a focus group. The social workers needed to have obtained a bachelor or higher degree and a minimum of one year professional experience working with substance abuse clients. Data analysis was conducted by evaluating transcripts of audio recordings from the focus group. The results were then further developed using common words and phrases among the participants to assist in the development of themes. Three themes emerged from this research study: the counselor attitudes/perceptions to treatment, client identified barriers to successful treatment, and the identification of environmental barriers to treatment. The findings of this study might bring about social change by helping social workers to identify factors that influence substance abuse treatment delivery and adapt successful treatment approaches to serve clients by providing social workers with the knowledge and awareness of practitioners' perceptions on treating substance abuse clients. This should lead to enhanced clinical practices by empowering treatment outcomes for the benefit of substance abuse clients.

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