Category: Criminal Justice / Forensics
Keywords: Criminal Justice | Anger / Irritability | Substance Abuse
Presentation Type: Symposium
Most individuals in the criminal justice system (CJS) have a lifetime diagnosis of substance use disorder. Moreover, there is evidence that individuals who experience substance use problems have other psychological disorders (e.g., depression). In fact, rates of co-occurring disorders among individuals in substance abuse treatment are higher than the general population. However, it is unclear whether more extensive CJS involvement is related to more severe substance use and psychopathology.
This presentation is based on 2 studies that examined the association of arrest history with severity of depression, PTSD symptoms, and anger in men who were admitted to a community-based residential substance abuse treatment program. Almost all clients had a history of CJS involvement, but only a few were mandated to treatment. Study I recruited 50 participants; Study II is in progress and has recruited 26 participants. Participants in both studies completed the Addiction Severity Index upon admission, which provided arrest history and duration of substance use. A month later, participants completed the BDI-2, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Check List, and Anger Disorders Scale (ADS). Study 1 participants also completed the ADS during the first meeting.
Mean age (38.2, 35.2 years) and years of using more than 1 substance (10.2, 12.4 years) were similar for both samples. Participants reported significant arrest history (Study 1- Mean # of arrests = 19, mean # of violent crimes = 5.9; mean months incarcerated = 95.1; Study 2- Mean # of arrests = 11, mean # of violent crimes = 4.4; mean months incarcerated = 60.2). For both samples, correlations between the arrests (and # of arrests for violent crimes) with depression and PTSD were weak (r’s = -.07 to .22). For Study 1, correlations between arrests with the anger measures were weak at Time 1 (r’s = .00 to .13) and Time 2 (r’s = .03 to .24). For Study 2, correlations between arrests and anger were somewhat stronger (r’s = .24 to .47). In sum, the extent of CJS involvement was not necessarily related to higher level of psychological disturbance. Results have implications for the treatment of clients with prior CJS involvement.
Saturday, November 18
3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
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