Treatment adherence and competency ratings among therapists, supervisors, study-related raters and external raters in a clinical trial of 12-Step facilitation for stimulant users

Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment (Impact Factor: 3.14). 09/2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.jsat.2014.05.008

ABSTRACT •We examine treatment adherence and competency of a 12-step facilitation treatment.•We compare ratings between therapists, supervisors, expert, and external raters.•The external raters rated most critically on all measures (adherence and competency).•Therapists exhibited poor reliability with the designated expert.•Raters more removed from the research process appear to provide less biased ratings.

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    ABSTRACT: AIMS: The study evaluated the effectiveness of an 8-week combined group plus individual 12-step facilitative intervention on stimulant drug use and 12-step meeting attendance and service. DESIGN: Multisite randomized controlled trial, with assessments at baseline, mid-treatment, end of treatment, and 3- and 6-month post-randomization follow-ups (FUs). SETTING: Intensive outpatient substance treatment programs. PARTICIPANTS: Individuals with stimulant use disorders (n=471) randomly assigned to treatment as usual (TAU) or TAU into which the Stimulant Abuser Groups to Engage in 12-Step (STAGE-12) intervention was integrated. MEASUREMENTS: Urinalysis and self-reports of substance use and 12-step attendance and activities. INTERVENTION: Group sessions focused on increasing acceptance of 12-step principles; individual sessions incorporated an intensive referral procedure connecting participants to 12-step volunteers. FINDINGS: Compared with TAU, STAGE-12 participants had significantly greater odds of self-reported stimulant abstinence during the active 8-week treatment phase; however, among those who had not achieved abstinence during this period, STAGE-12 participants had more days of use. STAGE-12 participants had lower Addiction Severity Index Drug Composite scores at and a significant reduction from baseline to the 3-month FU, attended 12-step meetings on a greater number of days during the early phase of active treatment, engaged in more other types of 12-step activities throughout the active treatment phase and the entire FU period, and had more days of self-reported service at meetings from mid-treatment through the 6-month FU. CONCLUSIONS: The present findings are mixed with respect to the impact of integrating the STAGE-12 intervention into intensive outpatient drug treatment compared with TAU on stimulant drug use. However, the results more clearly indicate that individuals in STAGE-12 had higher rates of 12-step meeting attendance and were engaged in more related activities throughout both the active treatment phase and the entire 6-month FU period than did those in TAU.
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