Perceived need for substance use treatment among young women from disadvantaged communities in Cape Town, South Africa
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© The Author(s). 2014 Published in BMC Psychiatry. This article is published under the Open Access publishing model and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. Please refer to the licence to obtain terms for any further reuse or distribution of this work.
Background: Initiation of treatment for substance use disorders is low among young women from disadvantaged communities in Cape Town, South Africa. Yet little is known about the factors that influence perceived need for treatment (a determinant of treatment entry) within this population.
Methods: Baseline data on 720 young, drug-using women, collected as part of a randomized field experiment were analyzed to identify predisposing, enabling and health need factors associated with perceived need for treatment.
Results: Overall, 46.0% of our sample perceived a need for treatment. Of these participants, 92.4% wanted treatment for their substance use problems but only 50.1% knew where to access services. In multivariable logistic regression analyses, we found significant main effects for ethnicity (AOR = 1.54, 95% CI = 1.05-1.65), income (AOR = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.93-0.99), anxiety (AOR = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.05-1.45), and not having family members with drug problems (AOR = 1.45, 95% CI = 1.05-2.04) on perceived need for treatment. When the sample was stratified by methamphetamine use, income (AOR = 0.87, 95% CI = 0.79-0.96), awareness of treatment services (AOR =1.84, 95% CI = 1.03-3.27), anxiety (AOR =1.41, 95% CI = 1.06-1.87) and physical health status (AOR = 6.29, 95% CI = 1.56-25.64) were significantly associated with perceived need for treatment among those who were methamphetamine-negative. No variables were significantly associated with perceived need for treatment among participants who were methamphetamine-positive.
Conclusions: A sizeable proportion of young women who could benefit from substance use treatment do not believe they need treatment, highlighting the need for interventions that enhance perceived need for treatment in this population. Findings also show that interventions that link women who perceive a need for treatment to service providers are needed. Such interventions should address barriers that limit young women's use of services for substance use disorders. © 2014 Myers et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
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