Date of Conferral



Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work


Mohammad T. Tirmazi


Alcohol and drug addiction are conditions that require professional treatment, but few social workers identify addictions as their primary area of practice, leaving it to nonprofessionals, those without degrees, knowledge, and skills required to provide this specialized practice. Thus, this action research project, guided by ecological systems theory, was focused on exploring the roles, perceptions, and experiences of social workers treating individuals with a substance abuse problem using evidence-based practices. A focus group of 10 substance abuse professionals was recruited from social workers providing services to individuals receiving substance abuse treatment in northeast Texas. Focus group data were audio taped and transcribed. Thematic analysis was used with open coding to identify the key themes. The findings revealed that social workers experience resistant clients, lack of organizational support, and inconsistent training. The findings from this study may provide social workers with more encouragement to use evidence-based methods in substance abuse treatment, additional understanding of critical shortcomings, and new ways to address the motivation for treatment. Additionally, the study may result in positive social change by encouraging substance abuse treatment facility administrators to seek improved training and consistent continuing education efforts in addition to emphasizing the social worker role in substance abuse treatment.

Included in

Social Work Commons