VISTAS Substance Abuse

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.

Determining the Impact of a Comprehensive Substance Assessment on Problem Recognition, Ambivalence, and Taking Steps

Jane Warren, Meaghan Nolte, and Jennifer Weatherford


This article briefly reviews the research on alcohol use in college students, brief interventions, and the therapeutic relationship in counseling. This information is then integrated to address the primary research question of this study: Can a substance abuse assessment impact problem recognition, ambivalence, and taking steps in college students who complete a brief substance abuse assessment provided with a therapeutic relationship and measured by the change factors from the Stages of Change Readiness and Treatment Eagerness Scale (SOCRATES) scale? The SOCRATES was designed to reflect the stages of change as described by Prochaska, DiClemente, and Norcross (1992). Recognition scores were related to one’s ability to recognize the existence of a problem, ambivalence scores were related to certainty of having a problem, and taking steps scores were related to action taken with change; together the three measures have been reported, although inconsistently, as being related to readiness to change (Bertholet, Cheng, Palfai, Samet, & Saitz, 2009; Harmon, McCormick, Werkner, & Zhang, 2004; Miller & Tonigan, 1996).

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