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Gender differences in client-provider relationship as active ingredient in substance abuse treatment


  • Marsh, Jeanne C.
  • Shin, Hee-Choon
  • Cao, Dingcai


The client-provider relationship is increasingly evaluated as an active ingredient in the delivery of substance abuse treatment services. This study examines gender differences in client-provider relationship as an important treatment ingredient affecting retention in treatment and reduced post-treatment substance use. The study uses data collected for the National Treatment Improvement Evaluation Study (NTIES), a prospective, cohort study of U.S. substance abuse treatment programs and their clients. Data on individual characteristics were collected at the pre-treatment interview; on client-provider relationship and services received at treatment exit; and on post-treatment drug use at 12 months post-treatment. The analytic sample consists of 3027 clients from 59 service delivery units (1922 men and 1105 women). Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to assess the structural relations and causal connections between relationship and service variables and treatment outcome variables. Results indicate that a positive client-provider relationship is related directly to longer duration and reduced post-treatment drug use for the total sample and for men analyzed separately. For women, a positive client-provider relationship was related directly to treatment duration and only indirectly to reduced post-treatment drug use. The findings point to the significance of including client-provider relationship in service delivery models - both as a therapeutic element as well as an element facilitative of matching services to specific client needs.

Suggested Citation

  • Marsh, Jeanne C. & Shin, Hee-Choon & Cao, Dingcai, 2010. "Gender differences in client-provider relationship as active ingredient in substance abuse treatment," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 81-90, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:epplan:v:33:y:2010:i:2:p:81-90

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Marsh, Jeanne C. & Cao, Dingcai & Guerrero, Erick & Shin, Hee-Choon, 2009. "Need-service matching in substance abuse treatment: Racial/ethnic differences," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 43-51, February.
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