The association between psychological well -being and the stages of behavior change in substance abuse recovery

Gerardo Fontan, Fordham University


Substance abuse disorders represent a major public health problem, and much is still not known regarding how or why different treatments for alcohol and drug disorders work or how they may be improved. In the current study, a model of recovery was outlined and tested which examined the relationship of stage of change to recovery, with six factors of psychological well-being, namely, autonomy, positive relations with others, self-acceptance, personal growth, environmental mastery and purpose in life, serving as potential mediators between stage of change and recovery. The sample consisted of 254 individuals currently receiving inpatient or outpatient treatment for substance abuse disorders, or who were mandated to participate in probationary programs for substance related offenses by the Department of Corrections (178 male, 76 female, mean age 38.9) Participants completed an informed consent, demographic questionnaire, and a survey comprised of three measures (University of Rhode Island Change Assessment, a 42-item Psychological Well-Being Inventory, and a self-administered Addiction Severity Index). Results from Confirmatory Factor Analysis led to the elimination of two stages of change and two psychological well-being factors based on results of modification indexes and observed violations of theoretical assumptions that guided the development of the model. The revised model was tested using Structural Equation Modeling and was found to be significant. Results indicate that two stage of change scales (contemplation and maintenance) significantly predicted recovery as measured by alcohol use, drug use and social conflict composite scores. Furthermore, four factors of psychological well-being (autonomy, environmental mastery, self-acceptance, and positive relations with others) were found to significantly predict recovery, and also served as mediators between stage of change and recovery. This study sheds light on the nature of the relationship between positive psychological characteristics, the stages of behavior change, and recovery from substance abuse.

Subject Area

Behavioral psychology|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Fontan, Gerardo, "The association between psychological well -being and the stages of behavior change in substance abuse recovery" (2009). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3373825.