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Women's Health Education Program Scholars' Projects

Identifying Predictors of Retention and Progress Among Women in Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment – A Retrospective Chart Review

Katherine Mai, WHEP Scholar

WHEP Scholar Katherine Mai w/ Chase Hamilton, Paul Menell, Jordan Seidle, Barbara Schindler, David Bennett
Drexel University College of Medicine, Dept. of Psychiatry & Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Historically, the majority of substance abuse (SA) treatment research has focused on men or mixed gender populations, with less attention to women. However, with increasing numbers of pregnant women using substances in the early 1990s, the US government began to attend to and expand funded research of women with Substance Use disorders.

The need for gender-specific substance abuse treatment research became increasingly clear as recent studies found that women have more medical, physical, and social consequences of their use than men including mood and anxiety disorders, domestic violence, child custody and child care issues as well significant histories of childhood trauma and abuse. Thus, earlier research, which primarily included men or mixed gender samples was not generalizable to women. In addition, studies have found that women in women-only substance abuse treatment programs have better treatment outcomes than mixed gender programs, as such programs better focus on women’s specific concerns such as trauma, childcare and domestic abuse.

The objective of the current study was to examine predictors of treatment retention and progress in an outpatient, women-only substance abuse program. Treatment retention has consistently predicted positive treatment outcomes. However, predictors of retention in substance abuse treatment for women have yet to be well elucidated. This study seeks to identify predictors of retention and progress in substance abuse treatment. Identification of such risk factors for treatment drop-out may lead to changes in programming to better support women entering substance abuse treatment.

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