Coping Strategy Use Following Computerized Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Substance Use Disorders

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Coping strategies are emerging as a predictor of treatment outcome for substance users and may be particularly important among computerized and self-change approaches. We used data from a randomized clinical trial of a computer-based version of cognitive–behavioral therapy (CBT4CBT) to: (1) examine the association between observer ratings of coping skills and self-reported coping strategies; (2) evaluate whether participants assigned to the CBT4CBT program reported greater use of coping strategies compared with those not exposed to the program; and (3) examine the differential effect of coping strategies by treatment group on drug-related outcomes. Individuals (N = 77) seeking treatment for substance dependence at a community-based outpatient substance abuse treatment facility were recruited and randomized to receive treatment-as-usual (TAU), or TAU plus CBT4CBT, with the Coping Strategies Scale administered at baseline and posttreatment. Self-reported coping strategy use was strongly correlated with observer ratings on a role-play assessment of coping skills. Although no significant group differences were found across time for coping strategy use, results suggested that as coping strategy use increased, drug use decreased, and this relationship was stronger for participants who received CBT4CBT.

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