Many factors help lead a person to receive assistance for a drug or alcohol addiction. Whether they are intrinsic or extrinsic motivators, many studies have researched the specific motivators that would lead a person to move forward with treatment. A correlation study published in 2003 by researchers from the Social Research Center at the University of Maryland studied exactly what kind of motivator stirred adolescent to seek help based on other variable factors. Focusing on adolescents made this study a unique topic because previous studies had only focused on adult drug abuse patient’s motivation to change.
Numerous variables were weighed and researched until a group of criterion were established to rate patients on a Motivation scale (the enthusiasm to change current behavior) and a Readiness scale (their willingness to begin treatment), as well as a combined section of both. These tests were parallel to other bio-psycho-social assessments that were used for other treatment programs. The tests for Motivation and Readiness were given at five different clinics in Maryland between 2000 and 2001. Researchers began by adolescents between the ages of 14 and 18 years old, narrowing down to a group of 196 patients who met the criteria. Each participant was given the Motivational and Readiness tests (the dependent variables measured) and were asked to answer questions on their demographic information, severity of drug use, any aggressive behavior, any consequences of their substance abuse, and any social traumas or abuse (the independent variables studied). After the data was collected, statistical analysis was completed to determine if there was a probable correlation between the motivation to change and any of the other variables provided.
The findings were conclusive on some variables but inconclusive on others depending on a number of different severities. One very important distinction the researchers pointed out was the difference between motivations levels in patients admitted into outpatient centers by means of external pressures. Generally, those patients being stressed into a program had lower motivation to complete treatment. These pressures can come from family, legal systems, or peer groups. Other external pressures to pursue treatment also yielded lower levels of motivation on the Motivation and Readiness scales. This led the researchers to believe that the best motivation for change and motivation for treatment lay in internal reasoning and pressures.
The most notable internal pressure for positive motivation was the importance of realizing and visualizing the penalties that came with using drugs or alcohol. These penalties include emotional or physical problems associated with the drug, legal issues and jail time, general problems that come with drug abuse, and reduction in ability to do normal activities. When studying the severity of the addiction and the type of substance used, the researchers found that the patients...