Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Severe substance use disorders are characterized by chronic cycles of relapse; however, individuals who complete substance use treatment are less likely to experience relapse. Research has focused on trying to identify factors that predict treatment dropout to help improve treatment outcomes. Most of this research has focused on examining demographic and patient-specific factors, with little success in reliably predicting treatment attrition. There has been less focus on investigating transdiagnostic factors that span across discrete psychological diagnoses and demographics. The present study sought to determine if self-report and behavioral measures related to emotion regulation predicted inpatient substance use treatment dropout above and beyond demographic variables, and to determine if variables related to emotion regulation improved during substance use treatment. The present study included 69 male participants, 68 of whom completed the full baseline assessment. Nine participants dropped out of treatment prematurely. Of the 59 participants who remained in treatment, 49 completed follow-up data collection. No demographic or substance use-related factors emerged as predictors of treatment dropout, except for number of past substance use treatments. Self-report measures of emotion regulation, distress tolerance, urgency, and negative emotionality were also not significantly predictive of treatment dropout. Additionally, behavioral measures of distress tolerance and risky-decision making were not predictive of treatment attrition. Prior to accounting for multiple comparisons, self-reported emotion regulation and negative urgency improved between the baseline and follow-up sessions. This study was significantly underpowered due to factors related to COVID-19 impacting dropout rate. Measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 also likely compromised other aspects of data collection. While findings were not significant, most findings were in the expected direction and warrant further consideration with a larger sample size and data collection after the impact of COVID-19 has subsided.



Committee Chair

Copeland, Amy