Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Understanding Unregulated Sober Housing in Suffolk County NY
by Sucilsky, Jennie, Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook, 2019, 118; 13884395
Abstract (Summary)

Sober housing is a model of communal living used in the continuum of substance abuse treatment. Sober houses are located in residential neighborhoods and utilize mutual support to assist residents in maintaining sobriety. Research demonstrates sober housing improves outcomes for those struggling with addiction, yet the research focuses almost entirely on sober housing that is regulated by private or state agencies. This study explores the nature of unregulated sober housing in Suffolk County through in-depth interviews with members of the community involved with sober housing. It studies the role it plays in the lives of community members that live in sober houses or interact with sober houses, as well as the general functioning of houses’ day-to-day operations. The sample group included residents of sober homes, professionals working in treatment centers and the criminal justice system that refer individuals to sober housing, community members that live near sober houses, parents of individuals who have lived in sober housing, and local legislators involved with sober housing legislation. Data indicated that while Suffolk County’s unregulated sober houses operate in ways similar to those identified in research on regulated houses, there are key differences that lead to a qualitatively distinct experience. The unregulated sober homes in this study often lack structure at times creating dangerous environments within the homes. Some individuals sought sober housing for themselves, their family member, or their client as a complementary support while newly sober, but many sought this type of housing only because they lacked other options. The study design relied on sampling various members across the community to build validity through data triangulation. The themes of unpredictability, lack of choice, and unmet expectations identified in the data analysis were present throughout the sample groups and emerged as consistent trends in the network of unregulated sober housing used in Suffolk County. The experience of the residents is further impacted by the neighborhoods in which the houses are located, which are often seen as less desirable and feel dangerous to the residents. Based on the data gathered in this study areas of future research would include seeking generalizability that would inform the development of models of regulating sober housing used throughout the country as well as to quantifying outcome differences between regulated and unregulated sober houses.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Peabody, Carolyn G
Commitee: Blau, Joel, Morgan, Richard, Reynolds, Jeffrey
School: State University of New York at Stony Brook
Department: Social Welfare
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 81/4(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Public health, Social work, Behavioral Sciences
Keywords: addiction, housing, Recovery home, regulated, Sober house, treatment
Publication Number: 13884395
ISBN: 9781687983107
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