A synthesis was conducted to assess outcome findings and methodological characteristics of controlled evaluations of adolescent substance abuse treatments.
Extensive computerized and manual bibliographic searches were employed to identify controlled evaluations of adolescent substance abuse treatment. Meta-analytic techniques were utilized to gauge effect sizes across studies to determine which interventions are most effective. An index of methodological quality was computed for each study using ratings of 13 study design factors. Interventions were classified by a combination of their design strength, achievement of desired effect, and other evidence factors.
Findings indicate that multidimensional family therapy and cognitive-behavioral group treatment received the highest level of evidentiary support. Seven other interventions showed evidence of effectiveness as well.
Several interventions are effective for treating adolescent substance abuse. These treatments are psycho-social in nature, exist within a structured framework, and should be appealing to social work practitioners.
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