A Qualitative Case Study on Recovery and Personal Growth in Korean Drug Addicts

Sun Kyung Kang, Hun Jin Kim, Seungnam Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In recent years, crimes related to drug smuggling and production have gradually increased in Korea. This qualitative case study explores the experiences of Koreans recovering from drug addiction and identifies specific details and mechanisms of recovery. For this purpose, participants were selected based on criteria such as engaging in social activities after recovery from addiction for 3 years or more. Next, one-on-one in-depth interviews were conducted with five voluntarily consenting participants. Data were analyzed using the within-/cross-case analysis suggested by Creswell. Substantial personal growth took place in the recovery process for drug addicts. Nineteen themes were identified as manifestations of personal growth through within-case analysis. Four common themes were then derived through cross-case analysis. These four common themes were “reconnection with reality,” “embracing the essence of one's own existence,” “reconstructing oneself in social relations,” and “self-love.” The study's results suggest that a recovery program needs to be developed wherein the program not only enables drug addicts to reflect on their current existence but also allows them to develop their specific coping skills. Future research should be broadened to consider the social support mechanism and viewpoints of people including family and local community members in close contact with drug addicts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-290
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Social Service Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 27 May 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2017S1A5B8057479).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Drug addiction
  • personal growth, qualitative case study
  • recovery process
  • within/cross-case analysis


Dive into the research topics of 'A Qualitative Case Study on Recovery and Personal Growth in Korean Drug Addicts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this