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The Role of Psychosocial Characteristics in Criminal Convictions Among Cocaine and Gambling Clients in Treatment


This study assessed the relative importance of problem gambling, cocaine use and selected psychosocial characteristics in predicting criminal convictions. A self-administered questionnaire was completed by clients when admitted to a treatment program for a primary problem with cocaine (n = 300), gambling (n = 199), or tobacco (n = 249). The questionnaire included questions on various psychosocial characteristics and criminal conviction(s) in the past 3 years. Those in treatment for cocaine use or gambling had higher rates of criminal conviction (21.8 % and 11.6 %, respectively) than those in treatment for tobacco (1.6 %). In a multivariate analysis, being in treatment for cocaine or gambling, compared to those in treatment for tobacco, was significantly associated with having had a criminal conviction; while having high levels of social support and being employed full-time were protective factors against criminal conviction. Due to the cross-sectional nature of the study causation cannot be inferred.

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The authors acknowledge the helpful editorial revisions by Victoria Emberley and Kate Vallance. We also thank the anonymous reviewers for their most helpful comments and suggestions.

This paper received financial support from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.

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Correspondence to Gina Martin.

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Martin, G., Macdonald, S. & Ishiguro, S. The Role of Psychosocial Characteristics in Criminal Convictions Among Cocaine and Gambling Clients in Treatment. Int J Ment Health Addiction 11, 162–171 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-012-9406-1

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  • Crime
  • Gambling
  • Cocaine
  • Treatment populations
  • Psychosocial characteristics