Research Centers & Affiliations

IUHR - The Mother's Hope, Mind and Spirit (MHMS) Study

The Mother's Hope, Mind and Spirit (MHMS) Study

A Critical New Approach to Treating Women with Substance Abuse Disorders

Hortensia Amaro, Ph.D., Northeastern University
Rita Nieves, RN, MPH, Boston Public Health Commission
Sandra Arevalo, B.S., Northeastern University
Rodolfo R. Vega, Ph.D., JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc.
Miriam C. Chernoff, Ph.D., Northeastern University

Name & Mailing Address of Corresponsing Author:
Hortensia Amaro, PhD
Institute on Urban Health Research
Northeastern University
Stearns 503
Boston, MA 02115-5000

Telephone & Email

Funding Resource:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Body of Abstract

The ultimate, long-term goal of Mother's Hope, Mind and Spirit is to reduce the incidence and prevalence of both substance abuse and HIV/AIDS among African American (AA) and Hispanic/Latina (L) women in recovery from addiction. The specific objectives are to enhance services through the implementation of a:

  1. Women's HIV Prevention Leadership Training Institute
  2. brief group-based trauma treatment
  3. stress reduction program
  4. spirituality curriculum
  5. providing client choice in the mix and sequencing of these activities.

The evaluation adopts a two-group, pre-post test design with repeated measurements at baseline, and 6- and 12-month follow-up. The primary outcomes include substance use and HIV risk behaviors. Protective Factors resulting from the Intervention:

  • lower rates of depression symptomatology
  • lower rates of anxiety symptoms
  • higher scores on measure of spirituality
  • lower rates of trauma symptomatology
  • higher rates of intention to use condoms.

Statistical Analyses:
McNemar's tests will be used to compare the changes of categorical variables over the time within subjects. To investigate the changes of continuous variables over the follow-up period, paired t-test will be used initially to compare the difference between two time points and ANOVA with repeated measurements to compare the changes of continuous measures over the three interviews time points.

Preliminary Results:
Descriptive statistics with baseline data collected from 437 participants shows that the sample is comprised of women who identified themselves from the following racial/ethnic backgrounds: 38% Black, 43% Hispanic/Latina, 13% White, and 6% identified as other. The average age at baseline of the entire sample is 33.5 years (SD=7.7). The overwhelming majority of the sample had an education below high school (74%); had a criminal justice history (85.8% had a lifetime history of arrest, 50.6% had a history of drug related arrest, and 75.7% had a lifetime history of incarceration); and had a lifetime history of physical abuse (95%) and sexual abuse (80%).

Implementation of this program, lessons learned and outcomes will provide a model for comprehensive and holistic HIV prevention approaches for women in recovery with a history of trauma.

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