Sex Trading and Psychological Distress Among Women on Methadone

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This study examined the relationship between sex trading and psychological distress among a nonrandom sample of women recruited from 3 methadone maintenance clinics in New York City. Face-to-face interviews with 280 women (M age = 40.7) revealed that 32% had traded sex for money or drugs in the previous year. Compared to other participants, these women reported less education and higher rates of incarceration in the past year, sexually transmitted diseases, childhood sexual abuse, partner abuse, and current regular crack/cocaine and alcohol use. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicated that sex traders scored 0.41 units higher than non-sex traders on the General Severity Index of the Brief Symptom Inventory after controlling for all relevant covariates. The findings emphasize the need to consider the interrelation of psychological distress, abuse, and addiction in designing public health interventions addressing methadone maintained women.

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