Contingency Management Is Especially Efficacious in Engendering Long Durations of Abstinence in Patients With Sexual Abuse Histories

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Exposure to sexual victimization is prevalent among persons with substance use disorders (SUDs). Contingency management (CM) treatments utilize concrete and relatively immediate positive reinforcers to retain patients in treatment and reduce substance use, and CM may have particular benefits for patients with histories of sexual victimization. Using data from three randomized trials of CM (N = 393), this study evaluated main and interactive effects of sexual abuse history and treatment condition (standard care versus CM) with respect to during treatment outcomes (retention, proportion of negative urine samples submitted, and longest duration of abstinence) and abstinence at a nine-month follow-up. Compared to patients without sexual abuse histories (N = 316), those with sexual abuse histories (N = 77) submitted a significantly higher proportion of negative samples in treatment. In CM, but not in standard care, patients with sexual abuse histories achieved significantly longer durations of abstinence during treatment than those without sexual abuse histories. Although sexual abuse history was not associated with abstinence at nine-month follow-up evaluations, longest duration of abstinence during treatment was significantly associated with this long-term outcome. Results suggest that SUD patients with sexual abuse histories may accrue particular benefits during CM treatment that are associated with long-term abstinence.

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