Dr Philippa Case

Philippa Case is a Research Fellow in the Centre for Health Services Studies at the University of Kent.  Her recently completed PhD at University College London explored how social relationships and alcohol consumption interact across the life course and how factors such as mental health play a part in this relationship. Her current research focusses on the use of administrative data to answer key public health questions, including what factors are associated with variability in screening for alcohol use in primary are settings. She is a co-lead of the Alcohol Research Interest Group at UCL/University of Kent and a member of the committee for the New Directions in the Study of Alcohol Group.

A qualitative study of social and psychological factors in alcohol consumption and pathways to treatment amongst alcohol treatment service users

Delegate Poster Prize-winner (non-student), 2022: Best inclusion


To explore the interplay between social support, alcohol consumption, and attempts to cut down or stop drinking.


Qualitative design using one-to-one interviews and thematic analysis. Data collection and analysis combined deductive, based upon attribution theory, and inductive approaches.


Alcohol treatment services in the Southeast of England.


Six male and six female alcohol treatment service users aged 32-56 (mean age=43).


Semi-structured interviews were conducted face-to-face (N=9) and by telephone (N=3) with an optional drawn timeline. Interviews focussed on key times in participants’ lives, discussing experiences of social support, alcohol consumption and any other key information from those times.


Three themes were identified: Reasons for drinking: Drinking to manage negative emotions or mental health problems was common, often starting with managing social anxiety in youth. Drinking was also described as a reaction to social conflict and a coping mechanism for loneliness. Routes to treatment: Participants discussed ‘hitting rock bottom’ with the loss of multiple social roles. Common themes for successfully accessing treatment were ‘doing it for yourself’ and ‘being ready’. Linked to the reasons for drinking, ‘being ready’ was associated with addressing underlying issues. Connections, reconnections and staying alcohol-free: Peer support and skilled alcohol treatment staff were key. Creating new non-drinking networks and re-connecting with old networks in non-drinking environments supported recovery.


Improved early access to services is needed to help maintain key social roles and relationships. Further work is required to overcome the ongoing barrier of accessing mental health and alcohol treatment concurrently.