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Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Social Work


Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Chris Flaherty


This study examined the relationship between drug use and violence among justiceinvolved women in Appalachian Kentucky. Goldstein’s (1985) conceptual framework was used as a theoretical guide in formulating the drugs and violence relationships. Therefore, three types of drug use and violence relationships were explored, including: 1) psychopharmacological violence; economic-compulsive violence; and 3) systemic violence. Although these drug-related violence typologies have been investigated, little research has been devoted to rural justice-involved women. Moreover, to date no studies have examined how these drug/violence relationships might be associated with behavioral health factors. Ergo, there were three aims of the current study. First, to build psychopharmacological, economic-compulsive, and systemic drug/violence predictive group models. Second, examine the associations between mental health symptomology and predicted group models. Third, examine the associations between infectious disease risk-factors and predicted group models. This study used secondary data from a NIDAfunded grant focused on risk reduction among high-risk incarcerated women in Appalachia (N=400). All study recruitment and data collection procedures were approved by the university IRB. Predicted drugs/violence groups were developed using a series of discriminant function analyses. Predicted group models were examined for associations with mental health symptomology and risk factors for infectious disease using a series of binary logistic regression analyses. Results indicated that rural justice-involved women can be discriminated into distinct drugs/violence subgroups, and the psychopharmacological group showed the greatest prevalence. In addition, several behavioral health factors were uniquely associated with the psychopharmacological group and the economic-compulsive group. These findings could offer novel considerations for theory development regarding the drug-related risks for violence victimization among rural justice-involved women. The current research may also inform future traditional substance use treatment (e.g., outpatient or residential) and jail-based treatment (e.g., brief intervention) for rural women. Implications for theory development, substance use treatment and policy, future research, and the social work profession were discussed.

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