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Dual diagnosis patients in substance abuse treatment: relationship of general coping and substance-specific coping to 1-year outcomes

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Aims. This study examined general and substance-specific coping skills and their relationship to treatment climate, continuing care and 1-year post-treatment functioning among dual diagnosis patients (i.e. co-occurrence of substance use and psychiatric disorders). Design. In a prospective multi-site study, dual diagnosis patients participating in substance abuse treatment were assessed at intake, discharge and at a 1-year follow-up. Setting. Patients were recruited from 15 substance abuse treatment programs, which were selected from a larger pool of 174 inpatient treatment programs in the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care System. Participants. A total of 981 male dual diagnosis patients participated in the study. Measurements. Assessments included general and substance-specific coping skills, treatment climate, continuing outpatient care, abstinence and clinically significant psychiatric symptoms. Findings. Dual diagnosis patients modestly improved on general and substance-specific coping skills over the 1-year follow-up period. Patients who were in programs with a 'dual diagnosis treatment climate' and who participated in more 12-Step self-help groups showed slightly more gains in adaptive coping. Both general and substance-specific coping were associated with abstinence, but only general coping was associated with freedom from significant psychiatric symptoms. Conclusions. Enhancing general and substance-specific coping skills in substance abuse treatment may reduce dual diagnosis patients' post-treatment substance use and improve their psychological functioning.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 1999

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