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Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 1996 Feb;22(1):41-56.

Correlates of crack abuse among drug-using incarcerated women: psychological trauma, social support, and coping behavior.

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  • 1Social Intervention Group, School of Social Work, Columbia University New York, New York, USA.


This investigation examines the relationship between psychological trauma and crack abuse among 158 women with a recent history of drug use who were incarcerated in a New York City jail facility. Interviewers obtained data on demographics, drug use, psychological trauma history, criminal history, social support, and coping behavior variables. Three-fourths of the total sample had used crack three or more times a week for a month in the past; a quarter had used other drugs, predominantly heroin, three or more times a week for a month in the past. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to assess the association between adult psychological trauma variables (loss of custody of youngest child and lived in streets prior to arrest) and regular crack use in three sequential models. After adjusting for social support, coping behavior, demographics, and criminal history variables, women who had lost custody of their youngest child were 3.3 times more likely to be regular crack uses. Women who demonstrated more negative coping behavior and perceived themselves as having less emotional support were also more likely to be regular crack users. The association between childhood traumas (i.e., childhood sexual abuse, childhood physical abuse, parental alcohol abuse) and regular crack use was also assessed using multiple logistic regression; however, no significant associations were found between these childhood psychological traumas and regular crack use in both the unadjusted and adjusted models. Study findings underscore the importance of assessing environmental, interpersonal, and intrapersonal factors in tailoring treatment strategies for users of crack and other drugs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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