Treatment Desires and Symptomatology Among Substance-Abusing Homeless Mothers: What I Want Versus What I Need

The current study sought to identify information that may inform treatment providers regarding services for, and engagement of, substance-abusing homeless mothers. Shelter-recruited, substance-abusing homeless mothers' desires for treatment in several commonly reported problem areas including substance use, parenting, depressive symptoms/mood, physical health, and childhood abuse history were assessed. The correspondence between mother's desire for treatment and self-reported problem severity was also examined. The majority of mothers reported at least some desire (versus no desire at all) for assistance with substance use, depressive symptoms/mood, and parenting. A series of independent-sample t tests and chi-square tests showed that mothers indicating any treatment desire in the areas of substance use, depressive symptoms/mood, health problems, and sexual abuse also reported higher levels of severity in the corresponding problem areas. The findings imply that psychosocial treatment should be available to all homeless mothers entering the shelter system, especially given that problem severity appears to be a fair indicator of interest in treatment.

Publication Date: 
In press
Journal Name: 
The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research