This review summarises the different motivational frameworks that are commonly applied to the study of substance misuse and explores the potential of a comprehensive conceptualisation of motivation based on the self-determination theory (SDT).
The most prominent conceptualisations of motivation to change amongst substance misusing patients are identified. Defining and measuring the concept of motivation within a sound theoretical framework has been a challenge. The literature lends little support to the conceptualisation of motivation as internal and external types. Promising work employs a dynamic model of motivation, but empirical research based on such a framework is still in its infancy.
There is empirical support to the conceptual distinction between motivation and treatment readiness and it appears that such a distinction can be particularly useful to treatment services.
Clients’ motivation has significant implications for initiating and sustaining recovery, and future conceptual and methodological improvements are needed that can improve our understanding of how people change addictive behaviours and what can be done better to assist them in their attempts to recover from addiction.
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