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The authors found positive associations to exist between these six components and treatment completion, length of stay, decreased use of substances, reduced mental health symptoms, improved birth outcomes, employment, self-reported health status, and HIV risk reduction. The authors conclude by recommending that further research needs to be done into interventions that can be efficacious for women in order to best treat that gender.
The study is helpful to people who work with substance abuse since research has clearly indicated gender-based differences in etiology of substance abuse and reaction to interventions. In this case, it only makes sense to evaluate the existent research on pertinent gender differences and to structure substance-abuse programs for each gender accordingly.
The studies, however, that authors employed - only 38 -- may have been too few. They may also have been from biased samples and may have reflected specific and limited populations and contexts. Substance abuse is a complex and multi-variegated field with patients possessing many variables. It is, therefore, important that a more comprehensive and exhaustive study (both longitudinal and cross-sectional) be conducted and that further meta analytic studies including a more diverse population be conducted. Given the limited purview of this study, Ashley et al.'s (2003) findings may not be generalizable to all treatment programs and treatment populations. Furthermore, most of the articles employed were non-randomized rather than randomized studies, containing lesser reliability. Given accomplishment of these factors, future research on this same topic would be extremely helpful to researchers and social workers since substance abuse programs may be substantially improved for women helping both women and their offspring.
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