This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Efficacy of Long-Term and Short-Term Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Modalities




Burgess, John

Type of Degree



Rehabilitation and Special Education


The overall purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of two drug treatment modalities: (1) long-term residential treatment extended care and (2) short-term residential treatment and their effectiveness in serving individuals with substance dependence. There are many issues involving client treatment retention, but for this study length of stay in treatment was the primary component when defining efficacy. Success was defined as having achieved abstinence for one or more continuous years. Data collection was accomplished by telephone interviews to former clients of the St. Christopher’s Residential Treatment Programs (Baton Rouge, LA) by staff members of the programs. In order to investigate the efficacy of long-term and short-term treatment, former clients of the St. Christopher’s program were administered questionnaires to evaluate long-term and short-term treatment effectiveness. Approximately 50 former long-term and 50 former short-term clients (n = 100) were contacted for participation in this study; however, 20 former long-term and 10 former short-term clients (n = 30) were available for interview at the time of data collection. Results of this study demonstrated a positive correlation between length of time spent in treatment and continued abstinence from drugs and/or alcohol. The more time spent in treatment yielded higher rates of sobriety than shorter time periods spent in the St. Christopher’s program. Findings from this research will help to substantiate the importance of long-term treatment for individuals consistent with the diagnostic criteria for substance dependence patterns. Additional research is needed in the field of substance abuse treatment to identify alternative methods in serving the needs of people seeking rehabilitation for addiction.