Disadvantageous decision-making as a predictor of drop-out among cocaine-dependent individuals in long-term residential treatment

Laura Stevens, Patricia Betanzos-Espinosa, Cleo Crunelle, Esperanza Vergara-Moragues, Herbert Roeyers, Oscar M Lozano Rojas, Geert Dom, Francisco Gonzalez-Saiz, Wouter Vanderplasschen, Antonio Javier Verdejo-Garcia, Miguel Perez-Garcia

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30 Citations (Scopus)


The treatment of cocaine-dependent individuals (CDI) is substantially challenged by high drop-out rates, raising questions regarding contributing factors. Recently, a number of studies have highlighted the potential of greater focus on the clinical significance of neurocognitive impairments in treatment-seeking cocaine users. In the present study, we hypothesized that disadvantageous decision-making would be one such factor placing CDI at greater risk for treatment drop-out. Methods: In order to explore this hypothesis, the present study contrasted baseline performance (at treatment onset) on two validated tasks of decision-making, the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) and the Cambridge Gamble Task (CGT) in CDI who completed treatment in a residential Therapeutic Community (TC) (N = 66) and those who dropped out of TC prematurely (N = 84). Results: Compared to treatment completers, CDI who dropped out of TC prematurely did not establish a consistent and advantageous response pattern as the IGT progressed and exhibited a poorer ability to choose the most likely outcome on the CGT. There were no group differences in betting behavior. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that neurocognitive rehabilitation of disadvantageous decision-making may have clinical benefits in CDI admitted to long-term residential treatment programs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 9
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Issue numberArt. No.: 149
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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