Examining the relationship between psychological functioning, childhood trauma, and types of perceived coercion among drug court enrollees: Results from a pilot study

Andrea N. Cimino, Natasha Mendoza, Thomas H. Nochajski, Mark G. Farrell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Background: Drug court interventions produce positive results—especially among mandated populations. Many criminal justice-involved persons, including drug court enrollees, have co-occurring substance abuse and childhood trauma disorders associated with psychological dysfunction. Given the coercive nature of mandated drug court treatment, it is important to understand whether childhood trauma and psychological functioning influence perceived coercion to enter treatment. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to describe the degree to which adverse childhood trauma and psychological functioning were associated with six domains of perceived coercion—self, family, legal, financial, health, and work—among a population of drug court enrollees. Methods: Data from 54 enrollees in a drug court pilot study were used to examine the relationship between childhood trauma, psychological functioning, and perceived coercion. Results: The pilot study data showed that psychological dysfunction and traumatic experiences in childhood were associated with higher perceived coercion to treatment, explaining 29% of the variance in coercion, controlling for gender and pre-arrest alcohol and drug use. Results indicated that the associations between psychological dysfunction and trauma were driven by non-legal types of coercion. In particular, childhood trauma was correlated with family (r = 0.32), financial (r = 0.32), and health (r = 0.47) types of coercion. Conclusions: Based on these preliminary findings, drug court practitioners are urged to assess perceived coercion, in addition to the behavioral health and childhood trauma of their clients, and to utilize non-legal types of coercion such as family, health, and financial impact to enhance treatment engagement.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number1320859
    JournalCogent Psychology
    Volume4
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

    Keywords

    • PTSD
    • court-ordered
    • mandated populations
    • substance abuse
    • trauma-informed practice

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychology(all)

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