Journal Article
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
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Change in psychosocial functioning and social relations among women in residential substance abuse treatment.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine the degree to which psychosocial functioning and social relationships changed during the first 3 months of treatment among women in a residential substance abuse program that emphasizes the importance of developing healthy relationships.

METHODS: Participants included 77 female clients admitted to the Salvation Army First Choice (FC) Program in Fort Worth, TX. Assessments of psychological functioning, family relations, and peer relations were administered at treatment entry and again after 3 months. Relationships with clients in treatment and friends outside treatment were measured separately.

RESULTS: Repeated-measures analyses of variance (ANOVA) indicated that interpersonal relationships improved. Family networks increased, family cohesion increased, and family conflict decreased. Peer networks changed as well, due in part to new relationships with other clients in treatment. The number of drug-using friends decreased, peer deviance and negative influence decreased, and social conformity among friends increased. There was a corresponding improvement in psychosocial functioning.

IMPLICATIONS: Results suggested that relationship-centered treatment for women was effective. Clients reestablished connections with family members, disassociated from drug-using peers, and improved the quality of relationships with family members and friends. Further research is needed in order to examine the influence of specific treatment components and the potential long-term effects of changes in women's relationships.

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