Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work


An overview of existing research shows that dually diagnosed individuals present a unique and complex challenge for family members and the professionals who work with them.

This exploratory study examined the impact on and family perceptions of the dual disorders as well as their treatment experience. Face to face interviews were conducted with ten parents who were selected from a treatment facility on the basis of specific criteria mainly, parents of a dually diagnosed adolescent recently having been or currently in treatment. Selections were also based on availability and willingness to participate.

Grounded theory techniques were used to analyze the data. Three themes emerged from the data: 1) coming to terms with illness, 2) issues for future of adolescents, and 3) perceptions of treatment experience.

The findings of this research provide information for social workers working with dual diagnoses. In addition, the findings of this research will provide background information for future research on parents' perceptions of dual diagnosis. It is hoped that the findings from this study will assist not only professionals, but also family and friends of the dually diagnosed individual.