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J Dual Diagn. 2012 Feb 13;8(1):64-73.

Impact of Abstinence Self-Efficacy and Treatment Services on Physical Health-Related Behaviors and Problems among Dually Diagnosed Patients.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, ( ).



Physical health problems are pervasive among patients with co-occurring substance use and mental disorders. Yet, drug treatment programs often ignore tobacco use and its association with health. Abstinence self-efficacy has been associated with improved outcomes for co-occurring disorders, which in turn may also impact physical health. This study had the goal of assessing whether abstinence self-efficacy for drugs and alcohol, and provision and use of services would influence tobacco use and other health-related outcomes among 351 individuals with co-occurring disorders in residential drug treatment.


Structural models tested the impact of baseline abstinence self-efficacy and treatment service characteristics on 6-month outcomes of health problems, functional limitations, health perceptions, and cigarette and heavy alcohol use. Demographics and baseline values for outcome variables were included as covariates.


Correlations within time for poor health, cigarette use, and heavy alcohol use were substantial. A longer time in drug treatment was associated with less cigarette and heavy alcohol use at a 6-month follow-up. Baseline health problems were associated with more cigarette use and functional limitations at 6-months. Abstinence self-efficacy did not predict less cigarette use, but predicted less heavy alcohol use and fewer functional limitations. Availability of specialized dual-diagnosis groups and more on-site psychological services were not directly associated with outcomes, but had an impact through indirect effects on more psychological service utilization which predicted better subjective health.


Improving overall treatment retention and services utilization among patients with co-occurring disorders may generalize to improved health perceptions, but specific health promotion and smoking-cessation interventions are warranted to improve health outcomes.

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