Perceived relationship quality as a predictor of women's dropout from substance abuse treatment

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Virginia Tech

This study examines how substance-abusing women and their partners perceive their relationship and how these perceptions are related to women's treatment completion.

The participant pool came from a larger study comparing the effects of adding couples therapy to traditional substance abuse treatment. All couples were in a committed relationship of at least six months duration. The sample was 166 mostly white and lower income women and their partners. The primary drugs of choice were opiates, alcohol, and cocaine.

Relationship perceptions were assessed prior to treatment by using the Kansas Marital Satisfaction Scale, the Dyadic Formation Inventory, and the Family Assessment Device. These scales all measure relationship quality as perceived by the subjects.

Perceptions of the women with substance abuse problems who completed treatment did not differ significantly from those who dropped out. The partners' perceptions did differ significantly. Partners of women who dropped out reported more couple commitment and more couple interaction as measured by the DFI, and higher overall general functioning, as measured by the FAD, than the partners of those who completed.

These findings suggest the importance of partners' involvement in, and support for, the woman's drug treatment.

dropout, relationships, substance abuse, Women, outcome