Gender Differences in Psychosocial Functioning Among Probationers Mandated to a Substance Abuse Treatment Facility

Sandhya R. Rao, Texas Christian University
Michael Czuchry, Texas Christian University
Donald F. Dansereau, Texas Christian University

The recognition that women substance abusers are a unique population with unique needs is widespread in the substance abuse treatment literature. Among other differences, previous research also suggests that changes in psychosocial functioning vary among the sexes. The present study investigated gender differences in psychosocial changes over the course of treatment. Participants included 210 probationers (147 males and 63 females) admitted to the Tarrant County Substance Abuse Treatment Facility in Mansfield, Texas. Information on psychosocial functioning was gathered at three time points in treatment (at Intake, Month 2, and Month 4). Psychosocial factors were created based on previous work and new factor analyses. Data analyses were then conducted using growth curve models, which examined gender differences in psychsocial change over time. Significant improvements were obtained for probationers' ratings of anxiety, depression, decision making, self esteem, life beliefs, role modeling, and cooperation across time. More importantly, significant differences were found between men's and women's rate of change of psychsocial functioning with women showing greater changes in decision making, self-esteem, role modeling, life beliefs, and AIDS risk behavior in contrast to their male counterparts. These findings suggest that psychosocial functioning improves significantly over the course of treatment, and more so for women.

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Updated 05/20/2006