Brief Report

Crossing the Invisible Line: Exploring Women's Secretive Alcohol Dependence and Barriers to Accessing Treatment

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 22, issue 3, 2012 , pages: 441–445
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2012.10820552
Author(s): Liezille JacobsHuman Sciences Research Council,, Anthony NaidooStellenbosch University,, Priscilla ReddyHuman Sciences Research Council,


This study explores the discursive accounts of women's alcohol dependence, treatment history and barriers in accessing alcohol dependence treatment. Participants were 10 women with alcohol dependency (age range=30 to 65, ethnicity= 70% White and 30% Black). Data were collected through the life story (narrative) interview method and thematically analyzed. A social constructionist approach was utilized to access and construct meaning from the discourses emanating from the women's narratives of their experience with alcohol and their attempts at rehabilitation. Two major themes emerged namely: (1) secret drinking and (2) inaccessibility of appropriate treatment facilities for women alcohol dependents were revealed. Policies to improve the quality of life of women recovering from alcohol dependence should take into account their invisibility.

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