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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2000 Sep;19(2):161-9.

A comparison of substance abuse patients' and counselors' perceptions of relapse risk: relationship to actual relapse.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, 400 E. Eisenhower Parkway, Building 2, Suite A, 48108-3318, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


This study compared substance abuse patients' and their counselors' perceptions of relapse risk during treatment and evaluated whether these perceptions predict actual relapse 2 years later. Participants (N = 240) completed the Relapse Risk Index (RRI), which assesses confidence in abilities and need for services across four domains: coping skills, social support, resources, and leisure activities. Participants reported greater confidence and greater needs than counselors reported. Determinants of counselors' relapse risk perceptions included income, whereas participants' perceptions were related to polysubstance use. Counselors' ratings of coping skills predicted alcohol relapse; counselors' ratings did not predict drug relapse. Participants' ratings of coping skills and leisure activities predicted alcohol relapse; social support predicted drug relapse. When including background characteristics, counselors' ratings did not predict alcohol or drug relapse; participants' ratings predicted alcohol relapse but not drug relapse. Findings suggest the potential utility of considering patient perceptions to understand and possibly prevent relapse.

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