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HSR&D 2004 National Meeting Abstracts


2037. Partner Behaviors and Patient Outcomes Following Addiction Treatement
Stephen W Tracy, BA, VA Palo Alto Healthcare System and Stanford University School of Medicine, JF Kelly, Brown University, RH Moos, VA Palo Alto Healthcare System and Stanford University School of Medicine

Objectives: Addiction treatment studies examining the therapeutic influence of patientsí partners suggest partner substance-use status and general, versus abstinence-specific, support are important aspects to consider when examining outcomes, yet findings remain inconclusive. Greater knowledge would enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of addiction treatment efforts.

Methods: A prospective, intact-group design was utilized with data analyzed using logistic regression. Participants (N= 3,014) from 15 VA programs were assessed at treatment entry and one-year post-discharge.

Results: Patients with partners (n = 916; 30.4 %) were less severely addicted and were more likely to be employed (p <.01); however, partner status was not related to treatment outcome (p >.01). For patients with a partner, relationship stress was associated with a lower odds of abstinence (p = 0.008) and remission (p = 0.01). Patients with partners that hindered abstinence efforts were less likely to be in remission (p = 0.02). Additionally, patients who perceived their partner to have a substance-related problem were about half as likely to be abstinent (OR =.62, p = 0.006) or in remission (OR = .57, p = 0.001).

Conclusions: Although patients with partners were more socially stable, substance use outcomes were no better than their single, more severe counterparts. Positive partner behaviors did not enhance outcomes, but negative behaviors, both general and specific to abstinence, had a significant, deleterious impact.

Impact: Clinicians should routinely assess the quality of their patientsí relationship status. If deleterious partner behaviors exist, empirically-supported interventions (e.g., Behavioral Couples Therapy) should be utilized to reduce relapse risk.