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Group therapy for women with substance use disorders: Results from the Women's Recovery Group Study

BACKGROUND: This Stage II trial builds on a Stage I trial comparing the single-gender Women's Recovery Group (WRG) to mixed-gender Group Drug Counseling (GDC) that demonstrated preliminary support for the WRG in treating women with substance use disorders. The Stage II trial aims were to (1) investigate effectiveness of the WRG relative to GDC in a sample of women heterogeneous with respect to substance of abuse and co-occurring psychiatric disorders, and (2) demonstrate the feasibility of implementing WRG in an open-enrollment group format at two sites. METHOD: In this randomized clinical trial, participants were included if they were substance dependent and had used substances within the past 60 days (n=158). Women were randomized to WRG (n=52) or GDC (n=48); men were assigned to GDC (n=58). Substance use outcomes were assessed at months 1-6 and 9. RESULTS: Women in both the WRG and GDC had reductions in mean number of substance use days during treatment (12.7 vs 13.7 day reductions for WRG and GDC, respectively) and 6 months post-treatment (10.3 vs 12.7 day reductions); however, there were no significant differences between groups. CONCLUSIONS: The WRG demonstrated comparable effectiveness to standard mixed-gender treatment (i.e., GDC) and is feasibly delivered in an open-group format typical of community treatment. It provides a manual-based group therapy with women-focused content that can be implemented in a variety of clinical settings for women who are heterogeneous with respect to their substance of abuse, other co-occurring psychiatric disorders, and life-stage


Greenfield, S. F., Sugarman, D. E., Freid, C. M., Bailey, G. L., Crisafulli, M. A., Kaufman, J. S., ... Fitzmaurice, G. M. (2014). Group therapy for women with substance use disorders: Results from the Women's Recovery Group Study. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 142, 245-253. DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.06.035