The Society for Social Work and Research

2014 Annual Conference

January 15-19, 2014 I Grand Hyatt San Antonio I San Antonio, TX

Adding to the Evidence Base of Gender-Specific Community Re-Entry Programming

Friday, January 17, 2014
HBG Convention Center, Bridge Hall Street Level (San Antonio, TX)
* noted as presenting author
Natasha S. Mendoza, PhD, Assistant Professor, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Andrea N. Cimino, MSW, Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX
Thomas Gregoire, PhD, Dean, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Background/Purpose: Women represent 26% of the over 12.4 million persons arrested for serious crimes (FBI, 2012). While the population of criminal justice-involved women has increased, re-entry programs tailored to women are limited (FBI, 2012; NIJ, 2012). Re-entry programs are designed to help prison parolees with community re-integration; without such interventions, ½ of parolees will be re-incarcerated within three years (PCS, 2011).  Just as there are few programs for vulnerable women, there is a dearth of research on the efficacy of evidence-based treatments. The purpose of this secondary analysis was to add to the evidence of gender-specific re-entry programming for substance abuse and trauma.

Study Objectives: Objectives of the study were to describe: 1) the demographic characteristics of women involved in a mid-western re-entry program; 2) the correlations between alcohol/drug problems, depression, self-esteem, and recidivism; 3) the baseline and post-Tx differences (self-esteem and depression) for women who received a trauma-informed EBP; and 4) the predictive ability of salient variables on recidivism.

Procedures: Helping Women Recover ([HWR], Covington, 1999) is a program for women with substance use disorders and trauma history. The HWR intervention involved 17 group sessions organized around four domains: self, support, sexuality, and spirituality. Participants received the intervention over 4 months. Data were collected as part of a program evaluation and included two waves, baseline (N = 103) and three-months post-treatment (N = 65).

Measures: Data related to alcohol and drug problems were collected via Face Valid Alcohol (FVA) and Face Valid Other Drug (FVOD) subscales on the Substance Abuse and Screening Services, Inc. instrument ([SASSI-3], Miller, 1985, 1999). Depression was measured using the Beck Depression Inventory ([BDI], Beck, Ward, Mendelson, Mock, Erbaugh, 1961) and self-esteem was measured using the Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale ([RSES] Rosenberg, 1965).  Recidivism was operationalized as any reported re-arrest over a 15-month period.

Analysis and Results: Preliminary analyses included correlation and paired sample t-tests. Primary analysis was logistic regression.  Results showed that depression was significantly lower (t = 5.03; p<. 01) and self-esteem was significantly higher (t = -6.15; p< .01) post-Tx.  There was a positive relationship between depression and alcohol and drug problems (r = .33, p< .01; r = .19, p<.05) at baseline, but not at post-Tx. Self-esteem and alcohol problems were inversely related (r = -.21, p <.05) at baseline. There was an inverse relationship between graduating from Tx and recidivism (r = -.40, p< .01). The primary model was significant (χ2(5) = 16.03, p = .007), correctly predicting 80% of cases. The Hosmer-Lemeshow test demonstrated adequate fit with non-significant chi-square values. Controlling for baseline self-esteem, depression, alcohol/drug problems, graduating from HWR was significantly associated with not recidivating (Wald χ2(1) =8.460, p <.01, OR = .16, 95% CI [.05,.55]).

Implications: Although the study had a large portion of participants that were lost to attrition (63%), important findings emerged. In a sample of women re-entering the community from the correctional system, self-esteem and depression were linked. Completing the HWR leads to positive outcomes over time. This study adds evidence to program efficacy.