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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2017 Sep 1;178:150-158. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.04.023. Epub 2017 Jun 16.

Cognitive remediation improves executive functions, self-regulation and quality of life in residents of a substance use disorder therapeutic community.

Author information

1
School of Psychology and Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, University of Wollongong, Northfields Ave Wollongong, NSW 2522 Australia.
2
Advanced Neuropsychological Treatment Services, PO Box 4070, Strathfield South, NSW 2136 Australia.
3
We Help Ourselves (WHOs), Building 128, Church St, Lilyfield, NSW 2040 Australia.
4
School of Psychology and Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, University of Wollongong, Northfields Ave Wollongong, NSW 2522 Australia. Electronic address: nadia@uow.edu.au.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Executive dysfunction is common in substance use disorder (SUD) populations and hinders treatment. We previously found that 50% of residents in SUD therapeutic communities had been hospitalized for head injuries; this was a significant determinant of cognitive impairment. The current study aimed to establish whether cognitive remediation improves executive functions (EFs) and self-regulation in an ecologically valid sample of female residents attending SUD therapeutic community treatment, including those with past head injuries and psychiatric comorbidities.

METHODS:

Controlled sequential groups design with residents (N=33, all female) receiving treatment as usual (TAU). The intervention group (n=16) completed four weeks of cognitive remediation (CR) and the control, TAU only (n=17). Outcome measures assessed pre- and post-intervention included both performance- and inventory-based measures of EFs, and self-reported self-regulation and quality of life.

RESULTS:

CR relative to TAU significantly improved performance-based assessment of inhibition (Color-Word Interference Test; F=4.29, p=0.047), inventory-based assessment of EFs (Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function - Adult Version: Global Executive Composite; F=6.38, p=0.017), impulsivity (Barratt Impulsiveness Scale; F=4.61, p=0.040), self-control (Brief Self-Control Scale; F=5.53, p=0.026), and quality of life (Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire - Short Form; F=7.68, p=0.010).

CONCLUSIONS:

Findings suggest that CR improves EFs in a heterogeneous sample of female residents in therapeutic community SUD treatment. Future research may explore the possibility of tailoring CR interventions for various SUD subgroups.

KEYWORDS:

Cognitive remediation; Executive functions; Self-regulation; Substance use disorder; Therapeutic community

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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