Identifying client characteristics associated with alcohol and other drug treatment retention in youth : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Psychology at Massey University
Treatment retention of youth has been identified as an important part of alcohol and other drug treatment effectiveness. However, ensuring the retention of young people in alcohol and other drug treatment is a constant challenge. It is therefore important to understand why some young people do remain in treatment while others do not. To date, however, there are very few studies on youth treatment retention and those that have been conducted are not in New Zealand settings. The present study examined client characteristics associated with the length of stay in alcohol and other drug treatment programmes. Participants were fifty two young people who had attended a range of alcohol and other drug treatment services across New Zealand. Interviews were conducted using a specifically designed questionnaire examining participant's time in treatment. Data were obtained on client characteristics, including gender, presence of psychopathology, severity and type of substance use and the source of referral. The results failed to identify specific client characteristics that reliably influence alcohol and other drug treatment retention in New Zealand day/residential or outpatient settings. This finding is consistent with much of the previous literature which has generally yielded inconclusive and inconsistent relationships between the client variables measured and staying in treatment.