Understanding Treatment Readiness in Recently Assessed, Pre-Treatment Substance Abusers

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The goal of this study was to more fully understand readiness for treatment in a pre-treatment sample of 446 substance abusers. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used to: (1) examine the relationships between readiness factors identified in the Pre-Treatment Readiness Scale; and (2) identify the effects of predisposing, illness, and inhibiting determinants on the factors. As with in-treatment samples, Problem Recognition was found to influence Treatment Readiness, although through a different intervening factor, Desire for Change rather than Desire for Help. A fourth factor, Treatment Reluctance, was also influenced by the Desire for Change factor. Fixed characteristics such as age and gender had minimal influences on readiness factors, as did inhibiting characteristics that reflected recent functioning. Illness characteristics including drug severity and perceived treatment barriers had a more robust influence on readiness factors. This study provides an increased understanding of readiness for treatment among pre-treatment substance abusers and also supported the construct validity of the Pre-Treatment Readiness Scale.