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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2011 Mar;40(2):183-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2010.10.002. Epub 2010 Dec 3.

Purpose in life predicts treatment outcome among adult cocaine abusers in treatment.

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Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA.


A sense of purpose in life has been positively associated with mental health and well-being and has been negatively associated with alcohol use in correlational and longitudinal studies but has not been studied as a predictor of cocaine treatment outcome. This study examined pretreatment purpose in life as a predictor of response to a 30-day residential substance use treatment program among 154 participants with cocaine dependence. Purpose in life was unrelated to cocaine or alcohol use during the 6 months pretreatment. After controlling for age, baseline use, and depressive symptoms, purpose in life significantly (p < .01) predicted relapse to any use of cocaine and to alcohol and the number of days cocaine or alcohol was used in the 6 months after treatment. Findings suggest that increasing purpose in life may be an important aspect of treatment among cocaine-dependent patients.

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