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Title: The role of opiate withdrawal symptoms and personality factors in predicting methadone detoxification treatment outcome
Author: Murakami, Akiko T.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3432 2882
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1996
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The effects of withdrawal symptoms on “interrogative suggestibility” (Gudjonsson, 1983, 1984a) were investigated in this present study. Interrogative suggestibility, as measured by the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scales (GSS1 & GSS2) has been identified by Gudjonsson as being a relatively stable personality trait of an individual, however at the same time being influenced by situational characteristics such as the physical environment and the individual’s physical and mental health conditions. Gudjonsson has also been able to identify norms for different groups of individuals, with the forensic group in general being more suggestible than the normal adult population. In this present study, suggestibility in opiate addicts was specifically investigated. It was hypothesised that opiate addicts as a group would be more suggestible than the normal adult population due to their situational circumstances e. g. poor physical and mental health conditions and personality traits e. g. low self-esteem, and similar to forensic populations. It was also hypothesised that opiate addicts would be particularly vulnerable during the period of acute opiate withdrawal due to increased levels of anxiety, uncertainty, physical and psychological disturbances. In order to evaluate these hypotheses, scores on interrogative suggestibility and various other psychological factors were compared between a group of patients undergoing a methadone detoxification programme in an inpatient drug treatment unit (DETOX group, N=21), and a group of residents at various residential rehabilitation houses who have come off drugs and are no longer suffering from withdrawal syndromes (REHAB group, N=19). Significant differences were found between the two groups on measures of suggestibility, and withdrawal symptom related factors i. e. withdrawal symptoms, health problems, General Health Questionnaire (GHQ), Spielberger state anxiety scores, with the DETOX group having greater physical and psychological problems, and higher suggestibility than the REHAB group. Suggestibility scores for the REHAB group were similar to, and those for the DETOX group higher than, those of a forensic population. From these results it is argued that opiate withdrawal syndrome acts as a major situational factor influencing opiate addicts’ suggestibility levels. These findings are discussed in relation to the context of police interrogative situations and the reliability of confessions made by suspects dependent on opiates. Criticisms of the present study are also made with some suggestions for future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Substance abusers; Child sexual abuse