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Experimental and clinical psychopharmacology


The psycholinguistic analysis of client-counselor interactions indicates that how individuals talk about their substance use is associated with treatment outcome. However, the processes by which client speech influences out-of-session behaviors have not been clearly delineated. This study investigated the relationships between deriving relations-a key behavioral process by which language and cognition may come to influence behavior, shifts in the strength of client talk in favor of change, and treatment outcome among 75 cocaine-dependent participants (23% Female). Participants were trained to relate cocaine words, nonsense syllables, and negative-consequence words and were then assessed for a derived relation of equivalence before starting treatment. The DARN-C coding system was used to quantify the strength of participant speech during an early cognitive behavior therapy counseling session. Cocaine use during treatment was the outcome of interest. The analyses (a) characterized the process of deriving relations among individuals seeking help for their misuse of cocaine, (b) tested the relationships between shifts in the strength of participants' speech in favor of change and treatment outcome, and (c) tested if deriving equivalence relations moderated the relationship between shifts in the strength of in-session speech and treatment response. Results indicated that a minority of participants derived equivalence relations, however increases in the strength of commitment language predicted less cocaine use during treatment only among those who did. The findings suggest deriving relations may be an important process by which changes in the strength of commitment language comes to influence substance use.



Published Citation

Carpenter, K. M., Amrhein, P. C., Bold, K. W., Mishlen, K., Levin, F. R., Raby, W. N., ... & Nunes, E. V. (2016). Derived relations moderate the association between changes in the strength of commitment language and cocaine treatment response. Experimental and clinical psychopharmacology, 24(2), 77.

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