Association of baseline characteristics and motivation to change among patients seeking treatment for substance dependence

Craig A. Field, Julie Duncan, Kim Washington, Bryon Adinoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


Background: The current study evaluated the bottoming out hypothesis by determining the extent to which composite measures of motivation to change are associated with baseline characteristics among patients seeking treatment for substance dependence. Methods: Two hundred treatment-seeking substance-dependent veterans were assessed. Motivation to change was assessed using the composite measures of Readiness to Change (RTC) and Committed Action (CA) derived from the University of Rhode Island Change Assessment. Baseline characteristics included recent life stressors, addiction severity, depression, anxiety and hostility. Linear regression was used to determine the association between baseline characteristics and the composite measures of motivation to change while controlling for age, gender and race. Results: Linear regression indicated that RTC and CA were associated with different baseline characteristics. RTC was associated with anger expression (B = -.28; 95% CI = -.6, -.01) and recent life events (B = 1.1; 95% CI = .01, 2.2). CA was associated with alcohol problems (B = -.33; 95% CI = -.62, -.05) and state anxiety (B = -.13; 95% CI = -.21, -.04). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that motivation to change was negatively, not positively, associated with greater emotional distress and problem severity. With the exception of recent life events, these findings are contrary to the notion of hitting bottom. Composite measures of RTC and CA also appear to represent different types of motivation to change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-84
Number of pages8
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2 2007



  • Bottoming out
  • Committed Action
  • Motivation to change
  • Readiness to Change
  • Substance dependence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Toxicology
  • Health(social science)

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