Psychological Perspectives on Recovery

Editor’s note: In today’s post, we highlight a few recent psychology dissertations on recovery settings, their dynamics, and the people who populate them. These entries are part of an ongoing drug-related dissertation bibliography being compiled by Jonathon Erlen, selections of which were formerly published in the Social History of Alcohol and Drugs journal but are now periodically featured on the Points blog. Contact Dr. Erlen through the link above.


Adverse childhood experiences and their impact on substance abuse treatment in adults

Author: Cody, Linzi Bruch

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to expand upon prior research done on the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) throughout the lifespan within a population of substance abusing adults receiving treatment on a residential chemical dependency treatment facility. Specifically, this study sought to determine the extent to which ACE scores were predictive of a variety of physical, social, and financial variables. To explore these relationships, a sample of 164 behavioral health recipients (BHRs) was included. Additionally, 16 healthcare providers were interviewed with regard to their opinions on these proposed relationships. The medical and financial records of the BHRs included in the sample were compared against their ACE scores, and a series of simple linear and logistic regressions were run in an effort to determine the ability of ACE scores to predict each variable. The contents of the interviews with healthcare providers were transcribed, and run in a content analysis in order to identify themes and patterns in their responses. The results indicated that ACE scores were not significantly predictive of any of the variables with the exception of age of first substance use, and number of days to readmission to treatment. Further, the results indicated that healthcare providers believed ACE scores to be highly predictive of the variables in question. These two sets of results were contradictory to one another, and as such, a discussion regarding the reasons for these discrepancies was included. This information can be of use to practitioners working with survivors of trauma and the substance abuse population in that it illuminates some of the confusion inherent in working with these groups. This study demonstrates that further research is needed in the area of adverse childhood experiences as they relate to the substance abuse population. Future directions for research should make efforts to control for confounding variables, and to make connections between the opinions of healthcare providers and the realities of the behavioral health recipients to whom they are providing treatment.Publication year: 2015

Advisor: Horn, Robert A. DeStefano, Thomas J.

Committee member: Bertsch, Teresa; Sealander, Karen A.

University/institution: Northern Arizona University

Department: Educational Psychology

A randomized control study of a brief psychoeducational intervention on alcohol use with undergraduate students

Author: Bayles, Cody J.

Abstract: A movement within the field of counseling psychology is one toward brief and evidence-based practices. Brief treatment approaches are preferred for their ability to treat more people in a timely and cost-effective way. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a brief group motivational cognitive behavioral (MCBT) psychoeducational intervention in reducing hazardous alcohol use and alcohol-related problems, while increasing readiness to change and drinking refusal self-efficacy in undergraduate students. The single session intervention consisted of a ninety-minute motivational interviewing portion and a ninety-minute cognitive behavioral portion. The independent variable was manipulated and the effects were assessed using a pretest and two-week posttest. Participants were randomized to an intervention group or a waitlist control group. A total of thirty-seven people expressed interest in participating and nineteen people completed all phases of the study. The experimental condition had eleven undergraduate participants and the control condition had eight undergraduate participants. The total sample consisted of eight males (42%) and eleven females (58%) and the average age of participants was M = 20.79 (SD = 7.68). The overall results from this study indicated that the one session MCBT psychoeducational intervention was not effective in producing meaningful treatment effects, as significant differences were not discovered between the treatment and waitlist control group and the post-hoc effect sizes were small. However, when controlling for no hazardous alcohol use at baseline, one significant result was identified and that was an increase in ambivalence. This suggests that undergraduate students who indicated they drank at baseline experienced a significant increase in wondering about the effects of their drinking on their life. The results from this study suggest that this particular psychoeducational intervention on alcohol use may not be viable in a one session format to help undergraduate students. Implications of this study specific to the dose, content, and length of the intervention are discussed. Further research utilizing randomized control trials with the use of a no treatment control group on the use of one session psychoeducational interventions is warranted to determine whether these types of interventions ought to continue being used.

Publication year: 2015

Advisor: Martin, William E. Moan, Eugene

Committee member: Griffin, Melissa; Martin, William E.; Moan, Eugene; Thomason, Timothy C.

University/institution: Northern Arizona University

Department: Educational Psychology


Transgender people’s experiences in substance abuse treatment

Author: Rodman, Kate

Abstract: This narrative study sought to document the substance abuse treatment experiences of transgender people. Individual interviews were conducted with eight participants, and the data were transcribed and analyzed. Participant interviews were discussed. Thirteen themes emerge from the interviews: Making Meaning of Addiction, Considering Discrimination, Additional Services, Provider Relationships, Program Community, Community Involvement, Recovery Approach, Self-Protection, Seeking Sobriety, Family Relationships, Other Self-Care, Feelings of Isolation, and Program Policies. Recommendations for substance abuse treatment programs that emerge from participant experiences and data analysis are put forth.

Publication year: 2015

Advisor: Wilkinson, Tanya

Committee member: Buscemi, Raymond

University/institution: California Institute of Integral Studies

Department: Clinical Psychology