Reasons for seeking outpatient substance abuse treatment
Murphy, Mary Kathleen
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Treatment for substance abuse is effective when patients enter and receive a sufficient exposure to services. However, fewer than 25% of substance users ever seek formal treatment and fewer than 25% who enter treatment receive the 3-6 month exposure found to be associated with sustained reductions in substance use and related psychosocial problems. This study evaluated patient motivation for seeking treatment, as measured by the Reasons for Seeking Treatment (RFST-II) questionnaire. Participants were 104 adult substance users seeking outpatient treatment of mixed gender (49% female) and race (39% African American, 53% Caucasian, 14% Hispanic, 8% Multiracial).;The most frequently endorsed reasons for seeking treatment were intrinsic and included: (1) Want treatment to make changes in life (90%); (2) Feel treatment is the best way to help self (90%); (3) Came to treatment because interested in getting help (85%), and (4) Thought about the good versus the bad of using and decided to do something about it (75%). A priori judgments based on Self Determination Theory were used to categorize RFST-II items into two motivational subscales: (1) intrinsic; (2) extrinsic. Analyses examined the reliability and validity of the RFST-II questionnaire as well as the relationship of intrinsic and extrinsic subscale scores with treatment utilization and other clinical indicators.;Pearson correlations revealed that data-derived extrinsic factor scores were significantly correlated with group treatment attendance, where higher extrinsic scores were associated with greater attendance. MANOVA tests revealed significant main effects for a priori intrinsic and extrinsic factor scores revealing that criminal justice referred participants were highest on extrinsic factor scores and self referred participants were highest on intrinsic factor scores compared to all other groups. Implications of studying motivational influences on treatment seeking and how this may lead to improvements in treatment engagement, retention and outcomes in this population are discussed.