New Test Predicts Possible Success of Drug Counseling

CAN YOU PREDICT how successful a drug addict will be in counselling? According to a new test created by researchers based in NUI Maynooth, it may be possible.

The team created a psychological test called the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP), which was used by a team of psychologists based in New York.

The results of the collaboration were published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

Professor Dermot Barnes-Holmes of NUI Maynooth, who led the work on IRAP, that he was approached by the lead author on the paper, Kenneth Carpenter, to take part.

The study involved 25 people who had a history of cocaine addiction and who were all enrolled in an outpatient programme that was running for six months.

They were given the IRAP test before their treatment.

Prof Barnes-Homes explained that IRAP is a computerised procedure that asks participants to respond very quickly to simple questions.

He said that the questions included what the participants experienced from cocoaine use, and whether they thought it would be positive or negative for them to use it.

He said that their performance and reaction times indicated if they were more favourable towards cocaine use.

Selecting the ‘true’ option more than ‘false’ predicted a worse outcome in treatment, and these people tended to, if they did turn up for counselling, produce urine samples that showed they were still using cocaine.

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