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Who comes into therapeutic communities? A description of the characteristics of a sequential sample of client members admitted to 17 therapeutic communities.

Therapeutic Communities The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities
Emerald (MCB UP )
Publication Date
  • Medicine


This paper describes characteristics of 313 client members of 17 therapeutic communities (TCs) in England and Scotland. These data were collected in a research project evaluating the effectiveness of therapeutic communities in treating people with personality disorders. Everyone admitted to these communities between 2 April 2001 and 30 September 2002 was invited to complete a set of questionnaires. We report their scores on a measure of personality difficulties (PDQ4+) and on two measures of state distress (CORE-OM and Brief Symptom Inventory) to provide a description of members willing to participate in the study. This dataset complements information from the same measures reported previously for everyone who was in these therapeutic communities on 1 April 2001 (Lees, Evans & Manning, 2005) giving a snapshot of the composition of the communities on that day; this sample gives a picture of the new arrivals as they arrived subsequently. One of the significant findings of this study is that the women in addiction therapeutic communities have much the highest scores on all the PDQ scales used but do not have particularly higher BrSI or CORE scores than the other therapeutic community groups. The next significant finding, replicating the snapshot data, is that the men in the prison therapeutic communities appear to score rather lower than might have been expected on the PDQ. Finally, the scores are generally higher in this sample than in the snapshot sample. The biggest limitations of the dataset are the missing data. The outstanding question is whether the snapshot sample scores lower than sequential admissions because of improvement in treatment, attrition of those with higher scores, or some combination of both.

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