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What Predicts Retention on an In-Prison Drug Treatment Program?

  • María José Casares-López (a1), Ana González-Menéndez (a1), Paula Fernández (a1), Roberto Secades-Villa (a1) and José Ramón Fernández-Hermida (a1)...


The effectiveness of treatments for substance use disorders is strongly related to retention, since early dropout from treatment is associated with greater likelihood of relapse. The purpose of this prospective, ex post facto study is to analyze the effect of individual variables on retention in a treatment program carried out in a prison drug-free unit. The Addiction Severity Index, motivation and personality profile of fifty inmates were assessed on entry to the prison. Inmates were monitored for a year to identify length of stay. Results: Motivation variables at intake play a vital role in the prediction of retention in a prison drug-free unit; scores on the Aggressive-Sadistic and Narcissistic scales are also strong predictors of treatment retention.

La eficacia de los tratamientos para los trastornos por uso de sustancias está altamente relacionada con la retention, pues entre otras cosas el abandono del tratamiento se vincula con una mayor probabilidad de recaída. El propósito de este estudio prospectivo ex post facto es analizar el efecto de distintas variables individuales sobre la retención en el tratamiento dispensado en una unidad libre de drogas intrapenitenciaria. Cincuenta internos de este programa fueron evaluados al ingreso en variables relacionadas con el perfil de gravedad de la adicción, la motivación y la personalidad. Resultados: La motivación inicial es una variable fuertemente predictora de la retención en el tratamiento, tanto a los seis meses como al año de estancia. Asimismo, las escalas Narcisista y Agresivo-Sádica evaluadas por el instrumento MCMI-II también tuvieron capacidad pronóstica en la retención.


Corresponding author

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to María José Casares López. Departamento de Psicología. Universidad de Oviedo. Plaza Feijoo, s/n. 33003 – Oviedo (Spain). Phone: +34-646870773. Fax: +34-985104144. E-mail:


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