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Research examines approaches to treating substance abuse among African-Americans
Date:10/17/2011

A new study is the first to examine the effectiveness of a widely used counseling approach to treating substance abuse among African-Americans. The study found that African-American women were more likely than men to continue a counseling approach to treating substance abuse, but their substance-abuse issues continued. The study led by LaTrice Montgomery, a doctoral student in the University of Cincinnati Department of Psychology, is published this month in "Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology," a journal of the American Psychological Association.

The study investigated the effectiveness of Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) compared with the standard treatment, Counseling as Usual (CAU) two clinical approaches to treating substance abuse among African-Americans. The study, a secondary analysis of a clinical trial by the Clinical Trials Network of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, was a rare examination of both treatment retention rates and the effectiveness of MET in reducing drug abuse, specifically among African-Americans.

Motivation Enhancement Therapy is designed to address the ambivalence surrounding substance abuse treatment, whether abusers are at the stage where they're ready to live a substance-free life or whether they're against any treatment.

"The idea of MET is for counselors to help patients build motivation and strengthen commitment to behavior change," Montgomery says. "One technique that is commonly used in MET to facilitate this process is the use of decisional balance exercises which help patients examine the pros and cons of substance use."

"An example would be a patient discussing what he or she considers the 'pros' of substance use, such as drinking alcohol to reduce anxiety," explains Montgomery. "However, despite its ability to help reduce the patient's anxiety, the patient might also acknowledge that heavy drinking negatively influences their interpersonal relationships."


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Contact: Dawn Fuller
dawn.fuller@uc.edu
513-556-1823
University of Cincinnati
Source:Eurekalert

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