Document Type



Background Quality of life (QOL) is increasingly recognized as central to the broad construct of recovery in sub- stance abuse services. QOL measures can supplement more objective symptom measures, identify specific service needs and document changes in functioning that are associated with substance use patterns. To date however, QOL remains an under investigated area in the addictions field, especially in the United States.

Methods This study examines patterns and predictors of QOL at 1 and 6 months post treatment intake among 240 women enrolled in substance abuse treatment in Cleveland, Ohio. The World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL-BREF) measure was used to assess physical, psychological, social and environmental domains. Hierarchical multiple regressions were conducted to identify correlates of QOL at 6 months post treatment intake.

Results All QOL domains across the follow up time points improved significantly. However, QOL scores across domains remained below those of healthy population norms. Trauma symptoms significantly predicted Phys- ical and Psychological QOL. Among treatment process variables, alcohol use was the sole significant factor associ- ated with QOL and only for Environmental QOL. Recovery support and friends support for abstinence were consist- ently associated with QOL across all four domains.

Implications This study suggests the usefulness of the WHOQOL measure as an indicator of functioning in sub- stance abusing populations. Findings underline the importance of helping women deal with trauma symptoms and develop support for recovery. Further research is needed on the longitudinal relationship between QOL and sub- stance use patterns.


Social Psychology and Interaction | Social Work | Substance Abuse and Addiction


NOTICE IN COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLISHER POLICY: This is the author’s final manuscript version, post-peer- review, of a work accepted for publication in Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Changes resulting from the publishing process may not be reflected in this document; changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. This version has been formatted for archiving; a definitive version was subsequently published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 124(3): 242-249 (February 12, 2012)