Date of Award

Summer 6-10-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

First Advisor

Malitta Engstrom, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Phyllis Soloman, Ph.D.


Objective: There is a critical need for effective, economical, and brief interventions for individuals who struggle with substance use disorders in inpatient treatment settings. Mindfulness-based interventions have facilitated increases in days of sobriety, decreases in number and intensity of cravings to use substances, decreases in stress, and decreases in adverse consequences related to substance use; however, there is limited research to guide such interventions in inpatient treatment settings. This pilot study explores the feasibility, acceptability, and potential benefits of teaching brief mindfulness-based practices as an ancillary treatment with a diverse population of women at an inpatient substance use treatment center.

Methods: A sample of sixty-one participants (N=61) were randomized to two conditions. Thirty participants were taught mindfulness approaches to cope with stressors of early sobriety in addition to treatment as usual and thirty-one participants were assigned to a benign control condition in addition to treatment as usual. Ten self-report instruments were administered to measure addiction severity, use of substances, trait mindfulness characteristics, psychological distress, stress, adverse consequences of substance use, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), disability, quality of life, acceptability of the intervention, and other support services received. The instruments were administered at baseline, end of the intervention, and at four weeks post-discharge. Analyses were conducted for all demographic variables, equivalency of groups, effects of the novel delivery of mindfulness training, and mean differences between treatment and control groups on post-test and follow-up levels of mindfulness.

Results: Descriptive data analysis indicated the intervention had a high degree of acceptability among participants. Statistically significant differences in mindfulness traits, frequency or severity of substance use cravings, psychological distress, PTSD, and quality of life were not found; however, post hoc analyses indicated that treatment effects varied in relation to PTSD symptoms.

Conclusion and Implications: Discussion of strengths, challenges, and lessons learned in this research is provided. Future research that further examines the effectiveness of brief inpatient mindfulness training is needed.

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Social Work Commons