Identifying pregnant women at risk for early attrition from substance abuse treatment

Wendy B. Kissin, Dace S. Svikis, Paula Moylan, Nancy A. Haug, Maxine L. Stitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Greater treatment retention among pregnant substance abusers is associated with improved pregnancy and neonatal outcomes, so early identification of clients most at risk for early attrition is essential. Participants were 152 pregnant women enrolled in the initial 7-day residential component of a comprehensive substance abuse treatment program for pregnant women. Twenty-nine (19%) women left treatment within the first 5 days, primarily within the first 2 days. Clinical staff identified many, but not all, patients who eventually left treatment early as many indicated their desire to leave and were troubled by drug craving and withdrawal. Other predictors of attrition included not receiving methadone maintenance, being Caucasian, and reporting more prior drug treatment episodes, fewer medical problems and, to a lesser extent, more family/social and psychiatric and fewer drug problems on the Addiction Severity Index. Interventions are needed to target pregnant clients most at risk for early treatment attrition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2004


  • Attrition
  • Drug treatment
  • Pregnancy
  • Retention
  • Substance abuse treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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