Substance abuse problem severity among rural and urban female DUI offenders

J. Matthew Webster, Jody H. Pimentel, Kathi L.H. Harp, David B. Clark, Michele Staton-Tindall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objectives: Although there has been an overall decline in the rates of driving under the influence (DUI) over the past two decades, this decrease has not occurred uniformly across all groups of DUI offenders. For example, the proportion of female DUI offenders has significantly increased. Furthermore, DUI arrest rates remain higher in less populated areas of the country. The present study examines indicators of problem severity among female DUI offenders across graduated levels of rurality. Methods: A total of 19,094 substance abuse assessment records from females convicted of DUI between 2002 and 2006 in Kentucky were examined. Beale codes were used to define the extent to which the county of conviction was rural. Results: Rurality was significantly and positively associated with multiple DUI offenses, being underage, drug problems, prevalence of DSM-IV-TR substance dependence and abuse criteria, being referred to substance abuse treatment rather than an education only intervention, and referral noncompliance. Blood alcohol concentration and alcohol problems were inversely related to rurality. Conclusion: The study suggests that problem severity among female DUI offenders may be greater in rural areas and could produce challenges for practitioners who assess and treat rural female DUI offenders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-27
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a contract from the Kentucky Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse; Matthew Webster, Principal Investigator; and by the staff and resources of the Center on Drug and Alcohol Research at the University of Kentucky. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Annual meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada in June 2007. Opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the position of the Kentucky Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.


  • Alcohol
  • Driving under the influence
  • Females
  • Rural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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