Predictors of Substance Abuse Treatment Need and Receipt Among Homeless Women

Published in: Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, v. 40, no. 3, Apr. 2011, p. 287-294

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2010

by Joan S. Tucker, Suzanne L. Wenzel, Daniela Golinelli, Annie Jie Zhou, Harold D. Green

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Many homeless women do not receive needed treatment for substance abuse. This study identified social network and other predisposing factors associated with perceived need for and receipt of substance abuse treatment among 273 homeless women who screened positive for past-year substance abuse. Perceived treatment need was more likely among women with drug-using sex partners, a denser network, and an arrest history but less likely for those with a minor child and a longer history of homelessness. Receiving treatment was more likely among women who received informational support from their sex partners and who had an arrest history but less likely among those who had a more street-based social network, had a minor child, considered themselves homeless, and recently needed mental health treatment. Treatment services researchers should attend more closely to social contextual factors, as well as the more traditional individual factors, to understand access and barriers to treatment.

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