Psychological Perspectives on Recovery

Editor’s note: In today’s post, we highlight a few recent psychology dissertations on recovery settings, their dynamics, and the people who populate them. These entries are part of an ongoing drug-related dissertation bibliography being compiled by Jonathon Erlen, selections of which were formerly published in the Social History of Alcohol and Drugs journal but are now periodically featured on the Points blog. Contact Dr. Erlen through the link above.


Adverse childhood experiences and their impact on substance abuse treatment in adults

Author: Cody, Linzi Bruch

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to expand upon prior research done on the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) throughout the lifespan within a population of substance abusing adults receiving treatment on a residential chemical dependency treatment facility. Specifically, this study sought to determine the extent to which ACE scores were predictive of a variety of physical, social, and financial variables. To explore these relationships, a sample of 164 behavioral health recipients (BHRs) was included. Additionally, 16 healthcare providers were interviewed with regard to their opinions on these proposed relationships. The medical and financial records of the BHRs included in the sample were compared against their ACE scores, and a series of simple linear and logistic regressions were run in an effort to determine the ability of ACE scores to predict each variable. The contents of the interviews with healthcare providers were transcribed, and run in a content analysis in order to identify themes and patterns in their responses. The results indicated that ACE scores were not significantly predictive of any of the variables with the exception of age of first substance use, and number of days to readmission to treatment. Further, the results indicated that healthcare providers believed ACE scores to be highly predictive of the variables in question. These two sets of results were contradictory to one another, and as such, a discussion regarding the reasons for these discrepancies was included. This information can be of use to practitioners working with survivors of trauma and the substance abuse population in that it illuminates some of the confusion inherent in working with these groups. This study demonstrates that further research is needed in the area of adverse childhood experiences as they relate to the substance abuse population. Future directions for research should make efforts to control for confounding variables, and to make connections between the opinions of healthcare providers and the realities of the behavioral health recipients to whom they are providing treatment.

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