Psychological Distress Tolerance and Duration of Most Recent Abstinence Attempt Among Residential Treatment-Seeking Substance Abusers


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Abstract

This study investigated the relationship between duration of most recent drug and alcohol abstinence attempt and psychological distress tolerance, as indexed by persistence on a mental arithmetic task (the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task; D. M. A. Gronwall, 1977), in 89 individuals in an inner-city residential substance abuse treatment facility. Results indicated that most recent abstinence duration was related to persistence on the psychological stressor, beyond the influence of demographics, substance use level, and negative affect. These findings extend previous work (T. H. Brandon et al., 2003; R. A. Brown, C. W. Lejuez, C. W. Kahler, & D. Strong, 2002) reporting significant relationships between persistence on laboratory challenge procedures and duration of abstinence following a quit attempt in smokers, suggesting that common processes account for relapse across addictions. Systematic replications including a prospective design are recommended.

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