Bridging Disciplinary Boundaries (January 11 - 14, 2007)


Pacific A (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)

Profiling Perceived Social Supports of Women in Methadone Maintenance Treatment Who Report Experiencing Intimate Partner Violence

Subadra Panchanadeswaran, PhD, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Nabila El-Bassel, DSW, Columbia University, Louisa Gilbert, MSW, Columbia University, Elwin Wu, PhD, Columbia University, and Mingway Chang, MA, Columbia University.

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious problem among women in drug treatment programs. Social support has been associated with women's recovery from partner violence as well as substance abuse. However, very few studies have examined the associations between social support, substance abuse, and IPV.

Objective: This study examined the associations between social support, substance abuse and partner violence among a sample of women in drug treatment program.

Methods: This presentation will focus on findings from a cross-sectional study of 416 women from 14 Methadone Maintenance Treatment Programs (MMTP) in New York City. The Revised Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS2) was used to collect data on IPV in the 6 months preceding the interview. The 12-item Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS) was used to collect data on perceived social support levels of women in the sample. Additionally, two questions that focused on number of people available for support was used to collect data on network size and averaged to yield a variable for Ďaverage social network size'. Four hierarchical linear regression models were constructed to examine the contributions of individual and combined IPV on the levels of perceived social support.

Results: The prevalence of physical, sexual and injurious IPV in the sample was 40%, 30% and 16% respectively, while the combined IPV prevalence was 44.5%. Respondents reported moderate levels of perceived social support (Mean = 58.0, SD = 13.7) and the average network size was 2.7 individuals. Findings from the four individual models revealed that lower levels of perceived social support were significantly associated with physical aggression (‚ = -4.70, p<.0005), sexual assaults (‚ = -4.09, p<.005), injurious attacks (-4.03, p< .05), and combined overall IPV (‚ = -4.92, p <.0005).

Implications: Results from this study reveal that women in MMTP who experience partner abuse are characterized by lack of support and hence the focus of interventions should be on strengthening social support networks of female clients. Additionally, prevention strategies need to increase sources of positive help for women, and also impart help-seeking skills.