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This exploratory study was conducted with the purpose of enumerating both particular social stressors (e.g., the presence of trauma) and the incidence of a comorbid diagnosis (i.e., personality disorder[s] and substance abuse) on a sample of women in a residential therapeutic community. The women in the study were assessed within the first 3 weeks following admission into drug treatment, and then again 6 months after leaving the program. The initial assessment generally took 2 hours and consisted of the Structured Clinical Inventory for DSM-III-R-Patient edition (SCID-II), Addiction Severity Index (ASI), and the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-II (MCMI-II). Clinically significant scores on the MCMI-II antisocial and borderline personality scales were noted in this study. This study found women with histories of delinquent and/or criminal behavior before drug use were more likely to have used more types of drugs and have used multiple drugs together. These women also tended to have had a history of being abused, either emotionally, physically, or sexually. This group was also less successful on all outcome measures during 6-month follow-up. Moreover, the lifetime incidence of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse reported for this group at the baseline assessment was high—57.1% emotional abuse, 48.9% physical abuse, and 39.7% sexual abuse. These results are consistent with the research literature that indicates abuse plays a central role in the development and chronic effect of personality disorders and, in particular, posttraumatic stress disorder. (Authors)
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services