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Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2006;32(1):7-28.

Predictors of prison-based treatment outcomes: a comparison of men and women participants.

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  • 1UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, Criminal Justice Research Group, Los Angeles, CA 90025, USA.


The purpose of this study was to examine differences between men and women entering prison-based therapeutic community (TC) treatment and to explore the relationship of those differences to posttreatment outcomes (i.e., aftercare participation and reincarceration rates). Extensive treatment-intake interview data for 4,386 women and 4,164 men from 16 prison-based TCs in California were compared using chi-square analyses and t-tests. Logistic regression analyses were then conducted separately for men and women to identify gender-specific factors associated with post-treatment outcomes. Prison intake data and treatment participation data come from a 5-year process and outcome evaluation of the California Department of Corrections' (CDC) Prison Treatment Expansion Initiative. The return-to-custody data came from the CDC's Offender Based Information System. Bivariate results showed that women were at a substantial disadvantage compared with their male counterparts with regard to histories of employment, substance abuse, psychological functioning, and sexual and physical abuse prior to incarceration. In contrast, men had more serious criminal justice involvement than women prior to incarceration. After controlling for these and other factors related to outcomes, regression findings showed that there were both similarities and differences with regard to gender-specific predictors of posttreatment outcomes. Time in treatment and motivation for treatment were similar predictors of aftercare participation for men and women. Psychological impairment was the strongest predictor of recidivism for both men and women. Substantial differences in background characteristics and the limited number of predictors related to posttreatment outcomes for women suggests the plausibility of gender-specific paths in the recovery process.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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