Predicting treatment motivation in adolescent substance abusers

Maria Teresa Alonso, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to explore predictors of treatment motivation among adolescent substance abusers in a residential therapeutic community. A principal goal of this study was to develop a more comprehensive model of treatment motivation that included dynamic client, situational and treatment variables. Treatment motivation was measured by the CMRS (DeLeon, Melnick, Kressel & Jainchill, 1993). Dynamic client, situational and treatment variables were assessed by the PEI (Winters, in press) and the CEPT-Q (Condelli, 1980). Factor analysis, Pearson product-moment correlation, t-test and stepwise multiple regression were used to analyze the data. As expected, an association was found between treatment motivation and retention. Adolescents with high treatment motivation were more likely to stay in treatment than adolescents with low treatment motivation for 30 days and 90 days. This finding confirmed the importance of exploring treatment motivation if adolescent substance abusers are to remain in and benefit from treatment. Contrary to expectation, the situational factor Family Relations and Functioning was not found to be associated with treatment motivation. As expected, dynamic client and treatment factors were found to be predictive of treatment motivation. The treatment factor, Clients' Perceptions and Attitudes Towards Treatment was found to be the strongest predictive factor with regard to treatment motivation. Adolescents who felt positive about their treatment experience reported higher treatment motivation than residents with lower treatment motivation. These results suggest that residents' evaluations of their treatment experience and treatment milieu significantly affect their willingness to change and their receptivity towards treatment. The dynamic client factor, Perceived Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Competence was the next most significant predictive factor for treatment motivation. Adolescents who expressed low self-esteem and low social competence reported higher treatment motivation, while those who reported higher self-esteem and feelings of social competence reported lower treatment motivation. This finding suggests that it may behoove drug treatment counselors in TCs to identify adolescents who do not express or exhibit intrapersonal or interpersonal dissatisfactions, as these are the adolescents most likely to be experiencing lower treatment motivation and to leave treatment.

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Recommended Citation

Alonso, Maria Teresa, "Predicting treatment motivation in adolescent substance abusers" (1996). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9628328.