Category: Addictive Behaviors
The majority of women receive treatment for substance use disorders (SUDs) in mixed-gender settings. However, few mixed-gender SUD treatment programs contain women-specific components. Treatment programs that incorporate women-specific components have been shown to lead to enhanced treatment outcomes for women with SUDs. In a pre-pilot study, we developed a gender-responsive, web-based intervention delivered via iPad for women with SUDs as an addition to treatment as usual in a mixed-gender, inpatient SUD treatment program. The intervention was developed by adapting psychoeducational material from three modules of the Women’s Recovery Group, an evidence-based, women-focused, single-gender group therapy for women with SUDs. Three topics of key relevance to women with SUDs were selected: (1) The Effect of Drugs and Alcohol on Women’s Health, (2) Managing Mood, Anxiety, and Eating Problems without Using Substances, and (3) Women and their Partners. Results showed a high level of satisfaction with the intervention but that modifications to expand the content and enhance the interactivity of the intervention could further enhance satisfaction. The lack of and need for gender-responsive care in acute and sub-acute levels of mixed-gender SUD treatment called for expanded examination of the intervention beyond the inpatient setting. For this pilot study, women enrolled in three levels of mixed-gender SUD treatment (inpatient, partial hospitalization, and outpatient) were included if they were (a) 18 years of age or older, and (b) able to read and provide informed consent. Two additional modules were added to the modified intervention: (1) Violence and Abuse, and (2) Women as Caretakers. Patient satisfaction with the intervention and attitudes about the relevance of the gender-responsive components of the intervention to SUD treatment were measured post-intervention. Forty-four women (mean age=39.4, SD=14.9; 93% white; 25% married) completed the study. Similar to the pre-pilot results, participants indicated a high level of satisfaction with the intervention (M=35.3, SD=4.5; maximum possible score=40). Satisfaction did not significantly differ by level of care (F=0.15, df=2, p=0.86) and was not associated with number of previous treatment episodes (r=-.04, p=0.78). The elements of the intervention that were rated as the most relevant to recovery (Likert scale 0-4; 4=extremely relevant) were: the link between substance use and other mental health problems (M=3.7, SD=0.7), how to manage feelings without using substances to cope (M=3.5, SD= 0.9), and the effects of substance use on self-care (M=3.5, SD=0.8). These results suggest that the intervention is applicable to women regardless of their previous experience in treatment and has the potential to be a highly sustainable strategy for increasing gender-responsivity across multiple levels of care.