A qualitative analysis of case managers' use of harm reduction in practice

Emmy Tiderington, Victoria Stanhope, Benjamin F. Henwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The harm reduction approach has become a viable framework within the field of addictions, yet there is limited understanding about how this approach is implemented in practice. For people who are homeless and have co-occurring psychiatric and substance use disorders, the Housing First model has shown promising results in employing such an approach. This qualitative study utilizes ethnographic methods to explore case managers' use of harm reduction within Housing First with a specific focus on the consumer-provider relationship. Analysis of observational data and in-depth interviews with providers and consumers revealed how communication between the two regarding the consumer's substance use interacted with the consumer-provider relationship. From these findings emerged a heuristic model of harm reduction practice that highlighted the profound influence of relationship quality on the paths of communication regarding substance use. This study provides valuable insight into how harm reduction is implemented in clinical practice that ultimately has public health implications in terms of more effectively addressing high rates of addiction that contribute to homelessness and health disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-77
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Case management
  • Co-occurring disorders
  • Harm reduction
  • Homelessness
  • Service engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'A qualitative analysis of case managers' use of harm reduction in practice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this