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Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2007 Jun;15(3):293-300.

Low-cost contingency management in community clinics: delivering incentives partially in group therapy.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06030, USA.


This study examined the feasibility and effectiveness of prize-based contingency management (CM) when incentives for attendance were administered in group therapy and incentives for abstinence were administered in individual meetings. Three community substance abuse treatment programs participated in this two-phase, crossover design study. Outpatients (N = 103) entering treatment who met diagnostic criteria for cocaine, opiate, and alcohol abuse or dependence were recruited. During the standard condition, participants received standard treatment and submitted breath and urine samples that were tested for alcohol, cocaine, and opiates twice weekly during Weeks 1-6 and once weekly during Weeks 7-12. During the CM condition, participants received the same standard treatment and sample and attendance monitoring, plus the opportunity to win prizes for negative samples and treatment attendance. Demographic information and substance abuse history were evaluated at intake, and posttreatment substance use (toxicology results and self-report) was evaluated at Month 6 and Month 9 follow-up interviews. Primary outcomes were weeks retained in treatment and longest duration of sustained abstinence (LDA). LDA was significantly greater in CM-condition participants, but weeks retained did not differ between groups. Rates of substance use were lower in CM participants at Month 9 but not at Month 6. This study suggests that it is feasible to deliver incentives for attendance in group therapy, but that further research is needed to understand the modest effects on attendance. Strengths and limitations of this study are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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