Impact of Interventions to Reduce Violence and Substance Abuse among VA Patients Objective: Rates of violence in Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment samples often exceed 50%, with studies showing rates of past-year violence >70% when considering violence occurring with either intimate partners or others. Violence has numerous costs to veterans and their families, in terms of physical (e.g., injuries) and psychosocial problems (mental health, legal problems, marital problems, poorer functioning for their children, etc.). To date, only one treatment approach (Behavioral Couples Therapy - BCT) has been established that reduces both substance use and violence, and BCT focuses exclusively on the couples' relationship. Given that a small proportion of veterans in SUD treatment have a partner willing or able to attend treatment, and that a substantial amount of violence occurs with non-partners, there is a clear need for interventions that do not require partner participation and focus on violence and relapse prevention more generally. Based on prior findings, new intervention approaches targeting the use of violence prevention skills and means of sustaining substance use remission are needed. The primary objectives of this study are to examine the impact on both substance use and violence outcomes of: a) an acute treatment phase integrated Motivational Interviewing-Cognitive Behavioral Treatment intervention (MI-CBT);and b) MI-CBT plus a violence and substance use prevention Continuing Care intervention (MI-CBT+CC) intervention. Research Plan: Participants will be randomized to one of three conditions: MI-CBT, MI-CBT+CC or an enhanced treatment as usual (E-TAU) control condition with follow-up interviews targeting violence and substance use outcomes at 3, 6 and 12-months. The MI-CBT intervention involves six individual sessions delivered during the acute SUD treatment phase, combines Motivational Interviewing (MI) and CBT approaches targeting violence and substance use, and has been developed, piloted and refined by the investigators. The MI-CBT+CC intervention includes acute phase MI-CBT plus weekly telephone sessions for an additional 3-month period, and is designed to address both post-treatment violence and substance use through facilitating SUD remission and use of violence prevention skills. The MI-CBT+CC intervention is adapted from a continuing care intervention shown to help consolidate and maintain gains made in treatment. Methods: Veterans with substance use disorders will be recruited from the Substance Abuse Clinic (SAC) at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare system. Approximately 855 veterans enrolling in SAC will be consented and screened, and those screening positive for severe and recent violence (~30%) and meeting other project inclusion/exclusion criteria will be eligible for participation in the randomized controlled trial (n = 210). The clinical interventions will be delived by master's level clinicians, who will be monitored and supervised by licensed psychologists. Primary dependent measures (violence, substance use) will be measured at baseline and follow-up interviews, and the impact of the interventions on services use during the follow-up period also will be examined.

Public Health Relevance

The purpose of this study is to examine the impact on both clinical (violence and substance use) outcomes and health services use (substance use disorder and mental health treatment) compared to standard SUD treatment (enhanced treatment as usual) of a) an integrated Motivational Interviewing-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (MI-CBT) violence prevention treatment intervention delivered during the 8-week early substance use disorder treatment phase;and b) MI-CBT plus a continuing care (CC) intervention for the 3-month continuing care period following the early treatment phase MI-CBT+CC). The study will provide important new information regarding the role and relative impact of both early treatment and continuing care interventions designed to impact substance use and violence, and whether combining such interventions yields additional benefits.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Veterans Affairs (VA)
Non-HHS Research Projects (I01)
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HSR-4 Mental and Behavioral Health (HSR4)
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Veterans Health Administration
Ann Arbor
United States
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Davis, Alan K; Bonar, Erin E; Goldstick, Jason E et al. (2017) Binge-drinking and non-partner aggression are associated with gambling among Veterans with recent substance use in VA outpatient treatment. Addict Behav 74:27-32
Buchholz, Katherine R; Bohnert, Kipling M; Sripada, Rebecca K et al. (2017) Associations between PTSD and intimate partner and non-partner aggression among substance using veterans in specialty mental health. Addict Behav 64:194-199