Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Incorporating Naturally Occurring Social Support in Interventions for Former Prisoners with Substance Use Disorders: A Community-based Randomized Controlled Trial
by Davis, Carrie Pettus, Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2011, 132; 3464901
Abstract (Summary)

Improvements in post-release outcomes of former prisoners (FPs) are linked to behavior and attitudes influenced by social relationships and social support. However, social and behavioral scientists continue to underutilize naturally occurring social support in interventions for FPs with substance use disorders. The exponentially rising incarceration rates in the United States disproportionately impact vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in our society. A range of efforts are needed to address specific sociostructural problems contributing to these trends, but in the interim people release from prison everyday and these individuals can benefit from social work informed interventions. The following three papers draw much needed attention to a neglected and low cost resource—naturally occurring social support—that could substantially improve the outcomes of FPs.

The first paper challenges the assumption that FPs have little positive support. Next, the paper describes an intervention, Support Matters , that incorporates naturally occurring social support, that was developed and tested in North Carolina using a randomized controlled trial design. Support Matters is grounded in three theoretical frameworks and is manualized to promote fidelity to the intervention.

The second paper describes the feasibility and acceptability evaluation results of Support Matters. This evaluation was conducted within the randomized controlled trial of Support Matters that assesses the effectiveness of the intervention in reducing substance misuse and re-arrest. In light of the difficulties that are frequently encountered when transferring evidence to practice, these evaluations are of critical importance during the formative stages of empirically supported interventions. This paper describes the feasibility and acceptability outcomes from the views of former prisoner participants, support partners, and group facilitators.

The third paper presents preliminary findings from the randomized controlled trial used to compare the effects of Support Matters to routine post-release services offered to a sample of 40 male prisoners with substance use disorders releasing to a large urban county. Findings indicate that Support Matters participants experience increases in subtypes of social support from family and report more opportunities for reciprocity of support compared to their routine services counterparts. Arrest outcome trends approached statistically significant differences in reduced arrest rates for Support Matters participants.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Howard, Matthew O.
Commitee: Draine, Jeffrey, Macy, Rebecca, Richman, Jack, Roberts-Lewis, Amelia, Scheyett, Anna M.
School: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Department: Social Work: Doctoral (residential)
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: DAI-A 72/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Social work, Criminology
Keywords: Community-based research, Former prisoners, Intervention research, Randomized controlled trial, Social support, Substance abuse
Publication Number: 3464901
ISBN: 9781124817736
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