Social exclusion, personal control, self-regulation, and stress among substance abuse treatment clients

Jennifer Cole, T. K. Logan, Robert Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of social exclusion, personal control, and self-regulation to perceived stress among individuals who participated in publicly funded substance abuse treatment. Participants entered treatment between June 2006 and July 2007 and completed a 12-month follow-up survey by telephone (n = 787). The results of the OLS regression analysis indicate that individuals with greater social exclusion factors (e.g. greater economic hardship, lower subjective social standing, greater perceived discrimination), lower perceived control of one's life, and lower self-regulation had higher perceived stress. Furthermore, a significant interaction was found suggesting a stress-buffering effect of personal control between subjective social standing and perceived stress. Interestingly, income status was not significantly related to perceived stress, while economic hardship, which assesses participants' inability to meet basic expenses, was significantly associated with perceived stress. Future research should examine how to integrate the AA/NA teaching about powerlessness and its role in recovery with the importance of increased personal control and self-control in decreasing perceived stress. Implications for future research and substance abuse treatment are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-20
Number of pages8
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this study was provided by the Kentucky Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, Division of Behavioral Health under a contract with the University of Kentucky Center on Drug and Alcohol Research. The Kentucky Department of Behavioral Health had no role in the study design, data collection, analysis and interpretation of data, and in the writing of the report or the decision to submit the paper for publication.


  • Chronic stressor
  • Discrimination
  • Economic hardship
  • Self-control
  • Substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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