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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Predictors of substance abuse treatment participation among homeless adults

  • Author(s): Ibabe, I
  • Stein, JA
  • Nyamathi, A
  • Bentler, PM
  • et al.

The current study focuses on the relationships among a trauma history, a substance use history, chronic homelessness, and the mediating role of recent emotional distress in predicting drug treatment participation among adult homeless people. We explored the predictors of participation in substance abuse treatment because enrolling and retaining clients in substance abuse treatment programs is always a challenge particularly among homeless people. Participants were 853 homeless adults from Los Angeles, California. Using structural equation models, findings indicated that trauma history, substance use history and chronicity of homelessness were associated, and were significant predictors of greater recent emotional distress. The most notable result was that recent emotional distress predicted less participation in current substance abuse treatment (both formal and self-help) whereas a substance use history alone predicted significantly more participation in treatment. Implications concerning treatment engagement and difficulties in obtaining appropriate dual-diagnosis services for homeless mentally distressed individuals are discussed. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

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