Examination of Social Support Meetings Attendance, Gender, Race/Ethnicity in Association with the Kalamazoo County Operating-While-Impaired Court
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Drug treatment courts (DTCs) are critical for effectively treating substance abuse amongst non-violent criminal offenders. Since their establishment, they have reduced recidivism and substances abuse problems. Little research has been conducted regarding the impact of social support on program completion in Kalamazoo County’s Sobriety/Operating While Impaired (OWI) Court. However, research has indicated positive social connections prevent relapse through increase in social networks. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to examine the relation of social support group meeting attendance and program completion and compare attendance rates by race, gender, and interaction of race and gender amongst 101 participants in Kalamazoo’s Sobriety/OWI Court. Furthermore, the present study aimed to examine the relation of type(s) and number of meetings attended and program completion, excluding those participants who attended zero meetings. In order to do so, attendance sheets from a voluntary support group tailor-made for participants in Kalamazoo’s Sobriety/OWI Court, known as PHASE UP, were gathered. Results indicated that those who attended at least one meeting were significantly more likely to complete the program. Further exploring these findings, results indicated that attending more types and number of meetings was not a predictor of success. In regards to sociodemographic characteristics, Caucasians were more likely to attend social support group meetings than People of Color. No significance was found between gender and social support group meeting attendance. Gender and the interaction of race and gender, however, did not predict social support meeting attendance. Furthermore, excluding those participants who attended zero meetings, the number of total meetings attended was not significantly different when analyzing gender and race. Results indicate that attending one social support group meeting is a predictor of OWI program competition.