Client-provider Relationship in Comprehensive Substance Abuse Treatment: Differences in Residential and Non-residential Settings


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

As the substance abuse service system shifts from primarily residential to primarily non-residential settings, it becomes important to understand how substance abuse treatment processes and outcomes may vary across service setting. Research increasingly indicates that, along with specific treatment and service strategies, client-provider relationship is an important ingredient in effective substance abuse treatment. This study uses a moderator-mediator analysis of a comprehensive service model to examine how the relation between client-provider relationship and substance abuse treatment outcomes may differ in residential and non-residential settings. The study uses data collected for the National Treatment Improvement Evaluation Study (NTIES), a prospective, cohort-based study of U.S. substance abuse treatment programs and their clients with an analytic sample of 59 publicly-funded service delivery units and 3,027 clients. Structural equation modeling (SEM) is used to assess the structural relations and causal connections between treatment process and treatment outcome variables. Results indicate that for non-residential settings, a better client-provider relationship is directly related to improved outcomes of treatment duration and reduced post-treatment substance use and indirectly related to both outcomes through provision of services matched to client needs. In residential settings, the quality of the client-provider relationship is unrelated to process or outcome variables. The findings point to the importance of the client-provider relationship in all settings but particularly in outpatient settings where there are limited physical constraints on the treatment process.

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