Examining Trauma and Readiness to Change among Women in a Community Re-Entry Program

Michael Killian, Andrea N. Cimino, Natasha Mendoza, Randy Shively, Kami Kunz

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Scopus citations


    Background: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and co-occurring substance use disorders (SUDs) are common among women who are incarcerated. Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between trauma and readiness to change substance use behaviors. Methods: This study used data from 103 participants enrolled in a residential re-entry program for women with SUDs and trauma history. Women reporting clinically elevated Trauma Symptom Inventory (TSI) subscale scores were compared to those without elevated scores on the University of Rhode Island Change Assessment (URICA) readiness to change instrument. Primary analyses included t-tests and ANCOVA to control for age and ethnicity. Results: In general, women with clinically elevated trauma scores also reported greater readiness to change. The analyses revealed significant differences on the URICA Readiness to Change scores between women who had elevated Defensive Avoidance and Impaired Self-Reference according to the TSI. Results approached significance for women who had elevated TSI subscale scores for Sexual Concerns and Dissociation. Conclusions: These results point to a need to further understand links between trauma and readiness to change, particularly, the role of posttraumatic growth and psychological distress. This study has implications for social workers and clinicians delivering evidence-based treatment. Women who had high trauma symptoms were more willing to address change. Findings also suggest a need to tailor interventions to include motivational components that are also trauma-informed.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1-6
    Number of pages6
    JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
    StateAccepted/In press - Sep 4 2017


    • community re-entry
    • posttraumatic growth
    • recidivism
    • Substance abuse
    • trauma

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Health(social science)
    • Medicine (miscellaneous)
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
    • Psychiatry and Mental health


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