MAPIT: Development of a Computer-Based Intervention Targeting Substance Abuse Treatment in the Criminal Justice System

October 19, 2017 by School of Medicine Webmaster

Although drug and alcohol treatment are common requirements in the U.S. criminal justice system, only a minority of clients actually initiate treatment. This paper describes a two-session, web-based intervention to increase motivation for substance abuse treatment among clients using illicit substances. MAPIT (Motivational Assessment Program to Initiate Treatment) integrates the extended parallel process model, motivational interviewing, and social cognitive theory. The first session (completed near the start of probation) targets motivation to complete probation, to make changes in substance use (including treatment initiation), and to obtain HIV testing and care. The second session (completed approximately 30 days after session 1) focuses on goal setting, coping strategies, and social support. Both sessions can generate emails or mobile texts to remind clients of their goals. MAPIT uses theory-based algorithms and a text-to-speech engine to deliver custom feedback and suggestions. In an initial test, participants indicated that the program was respectful, easy to use, and would be helpful in making changes in substance use. MAPIT is being tested in a randomized trial in two large U.S. probation agencies. MAPIT addresses the difficulties of many probation agencies to maximize client involvement in treatment, in a way that is cost effective and compatible with the existing service delivery system.