Substance use, education, employment, and criminal activity outcomes of adolescents in outpatient chemical dependency programs

Ana I. Balsa, Jenny F. Homer, Michael T. French, Constance M. Weisner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although the primary outcome of interest in clinical evaluations of addiction treatment programs is usually abstinence, participation in these programs can have a wide range of consequences. This study evaluated the effects of treatment initiation on substance use, school attendance, employment, and involvement in criminal activity at 12 months post-admission for 419 adolescents (aged 12 to 18) enrolled in chemical dependency recovery programs in a large managed care health plan. Instrumental variables estimation methods were used to account for unobserved selection into treatment by jointly modeling the likelihood of participation in treatment and the odds of attaining a certain outcome or level of an outcome. Treatment initiation significantly increased the likelihood of attending school, promoted abstinence, and decreased the probability of adolescent employment, but it did not significantly affect participation in criminal activity at the 12-month follow-up. These findings highlight the need to address selection in a non-experimental study and demonstrate the importance of considering multiple outcomes when assessing the effectiveness of adolescent treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-95
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Behavioral Health Services and Research
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Chemical dependency programs
  • Economic evaluation
  • Instrumental variables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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