Problem severity and motivation for treatment in incarcerated substance abusers

Matthew L. Hiller, Egle Narevic, J. Matthew Webster, Paul Rosen, Michele Staton, Carl Leukefeld, Thomas F. Garrity, Rebecca Kayo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Studies of community-based treatment programs for substance users document that motivation for treatment is a consistent predictor of clients remaining under treatment for a longer period of time. Recent research has replicated this in prison-based treatment programs, implying that motivation is clinically important regardless of setting. The current study examines predictors of treatment motivation using data collected from 661 male drug-involved inmates during in-depth interviews that include components of the Addiction Severity Index, TCU Motivation Scale, and the Heath Services Research Instrument. Findings showed treatment motivation can be measured effectively in prison-based settings. Motivation scores were not significantly different between individuals in a prison-based treatment program and those in the general prison population. Furthermore, higher motivation for treatment scores were associated with greater levels of problem severity, suggesting that individuals with more drug-use related life problems may recognize this need and desire help for beginning long-term recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-41
Number of pages14
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by Grant R01 DA11309 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse; Carl G. Leukefeld, Principal Investigator; and by the staff and resources of the Center on Drug and Alcohol Research at the University of Kentucky. Opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the position of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Funding Information:
J. Matthew Webster, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral Science and Center on Drug and Alcohol Research at the University of Kentucky. He is principal investigator for two state-funded substance abuse research projects and serves as a primary evaluator for several studies funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. His research involves studying psychosocial issues as they relate to drug use and other risk behaviors.


  • Problem severity
  • Recovery
  • Retention
  • Treatment readiness
  • Treatment suitability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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