FSD3367 Substance Abuse Treatment in Outpatient Clinics: Pre- and Post-treatment Surveys 2007-2010

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  • Rakkolainen, Maria (Tampere University)
  • Koski-Jännes, Anja (Tampere University)
  • Ehrling, Leena (Tampere University)
  • Tolonen, Kari (Tampere University)


alcohol use, drinking behaviour, drug abuse, drug addiction, drug education, drug use, social problems, social services, substance use


This study charted Finnish substance users' situation in life and alcohol and drug use. Main themes included the problems that arose from the respondents' substance use, their motivation to stop using substances, and their use of social services. Additionally, the data include evaluations of client meeting discussions between social counsellors and clients at A-clinics, which offer substance abuse and mental health services. The data were collected as part of a research project on the adherence of motivational interviewing in the initial substance abuse setting and its effect on clients' substance abuse harm reduction (the MISA project), funded by the Academy of Finland.

The data consist of a pre-treatment survey, evaluations of counselling session discussions by both the counsellor and the client, and post-treatment surveys. The pre-treatment survey and the evaluations were completed during the counselling sessions, and the post-treatment surveys were completed as phone interviews six and twelve months after treatment. This dataset can be connected to the qualitative dataset FSD3368 Substance Abuse Treatment in Outpatient Clinics: Client Meetings 2008-2009, which consists of transcriptions of the counselling session discussions. The respondents in the two datasets can be connected with a unique client number. The qualitative dataset is only available in Finnish.

The pre- and post-treatment surveys were nearly identical. First, the clients' situation in life and use of alcohol in the past six months were surveyed with questions from the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). The questions focused on, for example, how often the respondents consumed alcohol, how often they had not been able to stop drinking once they had started, how often they had felt guilt or remorse after drinking, and whether they had felt that their drinking had effected their social relationships negatively. The respondents' substance use was examined with questions regarding which substances they used and which substance was their principal opiate, i.e. for which opiate they were currently receiving treatment. Further questions on substance use were included from the Severity of Dependence Scale (SDS), for example, whether the respondents thought the use of their principal opiate was out of control and whether they wished they could stop using the opiate.

Next, the pre-treatment survey charted the respondents' personal objectives regarding their substance use. The respondents were asked, for example, whether their objective was to achieve total abstinence or reduce their use of substances, or whether they though there was no need to change their substance use. Additionally, they were asked how sure they were that they would succeed in achieving their objective. Both the pre- and post-treatment surveys charted whether the respondents had any other addictions in addition to substances (e.g. a gambling, sex, or internet addiction). Finally, the treatment the respondents had received was examined in both surveys with questions on, for example, how many treatment periods they had received for substance use, whether they had received treatment for their substance use in the past six months, and whether they been on any medication to control their substance use in the past three months.

For the evaluations of the counselling session discussions, the counsellors and clients were asked to evaluate different aspects of the discussion on a scale from 1 to 5. Both the clients and counsellors were asked, for example, whether they though the discussion had been good or bad, difficult or easy, useful or useless, or significant or insignificant. The client's perception of the attitude of the counsellor was charted with questions on, for example, whether the client thought the counsellor was judgemental or accepting, or unkind or kind. The counsellor's perception of the client's attitude was examined with questions regarding, for example, how much emotion the counsellor thought the client expressed and whether the client was willing or unwilling to work together with the counsellor during the discussion. Finally, the clients were asked to evaluate their own preparedness to stop or reduce substance use, and the counsellors were asked to evaluate whether the client had a strong will to change their behaviour and whether they were likely to continue treatment and reduce or stop substance use.

Background variables included the client's age, gender, type of dwelling, marital status, level of education, employment status, and whether they had children.

Study description in machine readable DDI 2.0 format

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