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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2001 Jun;20(4):253-61; discussion 263-4.

Retention in substance dependence treatment: the relevance of in-treatment factors.

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Julius Center for General Practice and Patient-Oriented Research, D01.335, P.O. Box 85500, 3508 GA, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


In addition to "fixed" patient demographic and background variables, treatment process constructs play an important role in the prediction of treatment retention in substance dependence treatment. The objective of this paper is to analyze the predictive role of repeated measures of treatment readiness and behavioral intention, and of patients' perception of the therapeutic alliance, while controlling for fixed patient-oriented variables. Ninety-three patients, both alcohol and drug dependents, enrolled in this study, which was conducted in an inpatient treatment setting. Patients completed questionnaires shortly after admission (t=0) and approximately 2 weeks later (t=1). Using these measures, 35% of variance of a length of stay in treatment of up to 30 days could be explained. Fixed patient-oriented variables accounted for 21% of variance. Of the cognitive factors, helping alliance was the most important, accounting for an additional 8% of variance. The implications of these results are discussed.

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