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Thematic analysis of factors attributed to recovery amongst staff enrolled in the Air New Zealand Alcohol and Other Drug Programme

A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Academic background
Sciences, Health Sciences, Humanities
Host campus
Medicine (Wellington)
Dr Elliot Bell, Associate Professor Giles Newton-Howes, Dr Julie Myers


This study, which has OHEC Ethics approval, will use a qualitative approach to ask what aspects of the Air New Zealand Alcohol and Other Drug Programme (ANZAODP) service users found to be effective in supporting them through their recovery from a substance use disorder (SUD) with the aim of generating a hypothesis to explain the programme’s high success rate.

By way of background, in 2017 Air New Zealand conducted an analysis of the rehabilitation outcomes for staff enrolled in the ANZAODP. They demonstrated an very high recovery rate which is similar to another aviation industry linked alcohol and other drug (AOD) programme in the USA and with comparable programmes for physicians (who undergo similar processes of licensing and regulation). However, the recovery rate for these programmes is substantially higher than standard non-employment linked AOD treatment programmes.

To date there has been very little research into aviation industry linked AOD treatment programmes, and none which has sought the views of staff enrolled in them. Studies of employment linked programmes for physicians have found that participants’ overall satisfaction with a programme and a positive reaction to the clinical setting are associated with recovery. Recovery has also been correlated with a participant’s perceived level of social support, whilst expert opinion has cited the combination of psychopathology, treatment, support and sanctions as being key. No published studies to date have analysed the specific themes within an employment programme that are valued by participants and attributed to their success in achieving recovery.


Elliot Bell
Tel   +64 27 473 9886