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Title: The relationship between drug use treatment waiting times and motivation to change
Author: Ridge, Gayle
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2012
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International research has demonstrated the effectiveness of treatment for heroin abuse, yet many treatment-seekers fail to enter treatment when a place becomes available. Understanding the factors that encourage, or impede, treatment access and utilisation may help to attract more users into treatment. The waiting period prior to treatment entry is often listed among the most common barriers for those seeking treatment, yet little research has examined the motivation of substance users awaiting treatment entry or the patterns of substance use during this time. This research programme investigated the associations between treatment waiting times and motivation to change heroin use through two empirical studies. The first study examined the use of a measure of motivation - the SOCRATES - to assess changes in motivation in a sample of heroin users starting a new treatment episode. The results indicated that the measure was capable of detecting changes in motivation over a three-month period. In the second study, the SOCRATES examined changes in motivation among a sample of heroin users randomly allocated to short or prolonged waiting periods prior to treatment entry. The study found reductions in motivation over shorter waiting periods but no changes over more prolonged waits. Longer waiting periods were also associated with improvements in heroin use. Successful treatment entry was associated with motivation but not with the length of the waiting period. The research programme found motivation is subject to change over the waiting period, with many reporting reductions in their motivation, regardless of the duration of delay. These findings suggest that the waiting period represents a missed opportunity for intervention, many treatment-seekers may lose motivation for change and continue to be exposed to the risks associated with drug use at a time when they express a desire for change. With a better understanding of the waiting experience strategies such as motivational enhancements or support during the waiting period can be implemented to help encourage treatment seekers into treatment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available