Psychological Symptoms and Outcomes in Adults ReceivingCommunity-based Treatment for Substance Use Disorders

Leslie Marino, Natalie Gukasyan, Mei Chen Hu, Aimee Campbell, Martina Pavlicova, Edward Nunes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Mental health issues in individuals with substance use disorders are common and can affect treatment outcomes. Objectives: Secondary analysis of a multi-center trial of an internet-delivered psychosocial SUD treatment intervention (Therapeutic Education System; TES) to: 1) describe psychological symptoms over time, 2) explore whether treatment assignment was associated with psychological symptoms 3) explore whether psychological symptoms at baseline moderated the effect of TES on abstinence or retention at the end of treatment. Methods: Psychological symptoms were measured using the Global Severity Index (GSI) from the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI-18), PHQ-9, and MINI SPIN (social anxiety). Zero-inflated-negative-binomial models given high numbers of “0” GSI scores and multivariate logistic regression models were run to estimate the effect of the interaction between treatment and baseline psychological symptoms. Results: The mean age was 35, 37.9% were female, 56.0% were white. Fifty-four percent had a negative urine drug or breath alcohol screen at baseline. Mean GSI score at baseline was 13.5 (SD = 12.6). GSI scores significantly improved (p<.0001) over time. Treatment was not significantly associated with GSI scores (aIRR = 0.97, 95%CI = 0.85–1.11). Those with social anxiety at baseline had a higher likelihood of achieving abstinence when receiving TES compared to TAU (b = 1.2071, SE = 0.6109, p = 0.0482). Conclusions: Psychological symptoms may improve over time in individuals seeking treatment for SUD, and for those with social anxiety, technology-based treatments may result in a better response. Examining the effect of SUD treatment on broader psychological outcomes in addition to abstinence may help clinicians provide more individualized care for those with co-occurring conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1258-1265
Number of pages8
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2021


  • Community reinforcement approach
  • contingency management
  • psychological symptoms
  • substance use disorders
  • technology-assisted interventions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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