The purpose of the study is to determine whether interpersonal psychotherapy is effective
for treating co-occurring depression and substance use among women prisoners.
Incarcerated women are a vulnerable and rapidly expanding population with high lifetime
rates of both substance use disorder (SUD; abuse or dependence on alcohol, illegal drugs, or
prescription drugs; 70%) and depressive disorder (DD; major depressive disorder and
dysthymic disorder; 20-27%). DDs tend to worsen the course of SUDs for incarcerated women
by increasing their risk for suicide attempts, contributing to the persistence of substance
abuse, and reducing the likelihood of a successful transition to an independent, sober life
in the community. Recent evidence indicates that DDs are common in persons with SUDs, often
do not remit with SUD treatment, and should be treated. Despite growing recognition that
co-occurring disorders, such as DDs, among substance abusing incarcerated women present an
important public health concern, integrated treatments for SUD-DD have not been
well-developed for or systematically tested in this population. Group Interpersonal
Psychotherapy (IPT-G) has been shown to be efficacious in treating DD in other populations
and may be especially pertinent to the needs of incarcerated women with SUD-DD because
interpersonal difficulties not only affect severity of depression, but are also strong
predictors of drinking to cope, SUD relapse, and prison recidivism in women.
This study tests the hypotheses that as adjuncts to prison SUD treatment, IPT-G, relative to
psychoeducation on co-occurring disorders, will produce at least moderate effect sizes for:
- Reduction in the risk and severity of substance use relapse after release from prison
- Recovery from depressive disorder and reduction in depressive symptoms
- Improvement in social support and interpersonal functioning
- Reduction in the severity of legal problems during the 3 month follow-up period
- Participants are recruited from prison substance use treatment programs.
- Current primary (non-substance-induced, as defined by the SCID) depressive disorder
(major depressive or dysthymic disorder) after at least 4 weeks of prison SUD
treatment and abstinence.
- A minimum Hamilton Depression score of 18 or higher, indicating moderate to severe
- Depressive disorder at any time while not incarcerated.
- Substance use disorder one month prior to incarceration.
- Between 10 and 18 weeks away from release from prison.
- Lifetime criteria for bipolar disorder
- Lifetime criteria for a psychotic disorder
- Actively suicidal