Evidence-based substance abuse treatment for adolescents: Engagement and outcomes

Bridget S. Ruiz, Josephine D. Korchmaros, Alison Greene, Kristin Hedges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Over the past decade the empirical foundation which supports the use of evidence-based practices in adolescent substance abuse treatment has increased significantly. However, there remains a gap in the literature regarding the effectiveness of utilising assertive methods for re-engaging adolescents that leave treatment early or providing continuing care following treatment. This paper helps to fill this gap by (1) describing the Assertive Adolescent Family Treatment (AAFT) initiative funded to replicate the implementation of the Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA) followed by Assertive Continuing Care (ACC); (2) discussing the primary components of A-CRA and ACC (e.g., number of sessions, therapeutic content) and the implementation strategies employed in an adolescent outpatient treatment setting in the Southwestern United States (e.g., personnel, training, fidelity monitoring); (3) describing a sample of 144 adolescent participants between the ages of 12 and 17 years old that received A-CRA and/or ACC; and (4) examining differential effects of A-CRA and ACC on key outcomes. The article concludes with a discussion of the practical implications and applications for social work practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-233
Number of pages19
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Adolescents
  • Engagement
  • Evidence-based substance abuse treatment
  • Outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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