Trauma in the childhood stories of people who have injected drugs

Richard Hammersley, Phil Dalgarno, Sean McCollum, Marie Reid, Yvonne Strike, Austin Smith, Jason Wallace, Audrey Smart, Moria Jack, Alan Thompson, David Liddell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To document childhood trauma in the life stories of people who have injected drugs. Method: Fifty-five participants (38 m, 17 f) recruited via Scottish recovery networks, who had injected drugs in the previous five years, were interviewed by peer researchers using the Life Story method. Results: Remembered childhood trauma included persistent violence, repeated sexual abuse, neglect and traumatic bereavements. Many traumas were related to adult alcohol use. Few participants told of no trauma, some of severe trauma contributing to subsequent drug problems, some recounted stories including traumatic events, but not linked to later drug problems. A few told of initial severe behavioural problems leading to trauma for the child and to drug problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-151
Number of pages17
JournalAddiction Research and Theory
Issue number2
Early online date7 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • drug addiction
  • childhood
  • sociology


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