ResearchPublications

Associations between relationship quality and treatment-related stress among couples receiving methadone for opioid use disorder
Abstract

BACKGROUND: Social relationships may buffer or exacerbate stress among patients receiving methadone treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD). Little is known, however, about how relationship quality is linked to treatment-related stress among couples in which both partners receive methadone. We considered the links between relationship quality and treatment-related stress among couples in methadone treatment for OUD.

METHODS: Participants for this cross-sectional observational study included 60 heterosexual married or cohabiting couples aged 18 and older drawn from two opioid treatment programs in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Both partners completed a self-administered survey which assessed their sociodemographic information, relationship and treatment characteristics, and perceived treatment-related stress. We estimated actor-partner interdependence models to evaluate the links between each partner’s perceptions of relationship quality (with their partner and their closest family member or friend) and treatment-related stress.

RESULTS: When their partners reported a more positive partner relationship, women had lower treatment-related stress. When women reported a more positive relationship with their own closest family member or friend, both women and their partners had lower treatment-related stress. When men perceived a more positive relationship with their closest family member or friend, their partners reported greater treatment-related stress. Negative relationship quality was not significantly linked to treatment-related stress.

CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights the importance of considering how social relationship quality might impact the experiences of couples receiving methadone for OUD. In particular, women’s close relationships may help to mitigate treatment-related stress.

Full citation:
Polenick CA, Han BH, Meyers SN, Arnold TD, Cotton BP (2021).
Associations between relationship quality and treatment-related stress among couples receiving methadone for opioid use disorder
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment [Epub 2021 Jul 31]. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2021.108580.