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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2000 Jul;19(1):1-5.

Motivation to change substance use among offenders of domestic violence.

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Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, SATU, New Haven, CT 06511, USA.


Substance use alone leads to increased rates of violence, reduction in adherence to treatment regimes, and other negative psychiatric sequelae. Given the high rates of co-occurring substance use and family violence-related problems, substance use was assessed among offenders of domestic violence who were mandated by court to attend anger management classes. Rates of substance dependence diagnoses ranged from 33 to 50%, while rates of substance abuse diagnoses ranged from 60 to 75%. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a motivational enhancement intervention on readiness to change substance use. Two anger management groups were targeted to assess substance use, violence, and motivation to change substance use behaviors. One group was randomly chosen to partake in a motivational enhancement intervention session. The comparison group was offered standard anger management classes. Forty-one clients were evaluated for substance abuse and dependence diagnosis using criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed. A brief motivation to change survey, adapted from the Readiness to Change subscale of the Stages of Change Readiness and Treatment Eagerness Scale was administered pre- and postsession. Results indicate that a motivational enhancement intervention is feasible and effective in increasing readiness to change substance use among domestic violence offenders. The results illustrate the importance of assessing and treating substance use among offenders of domestic violence, as this may be an important indicator for higher dropout rates and reoffenses among this population.

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