Evaluating racial disparity in referral source and successful completion of substance abuse treatment

Ethan Sahker, Maisha N. Toussaint, Marizen Ramirez, Saba R. Ali, Stephan Arndt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Health disparity is a significant problem in the United States, and particularly for substance abuse treatment programs. A better understanding of racial differences in treatment pathways associated with successful treatment completion is needed to reduce the existing health disparities. Referral source is a strong predictor of treatment success and most research on health disparities has focused on the criminal justice referrals. However, little research has examined other types of referral sources, and the interaction with race. The current study sought to compare the effect of referral sources on national substance abuse successful treatment completion rates between Black clients (n=324,625) and White clients (n=1,060,444) by examining the interaction of race on referral source and successful treatment completion. Race significantly moderated the difference between referral source and successful treatment completion (Wald χ2=1477.73, df=6, p<0.0001). Employment referral was associated with the greatest percentage of successful treatment completion for Black clients. Criminal justice referral was associated with the greatest percentage of successful treatment completion for White clients. Results from the present study support a reevaluation of incentives leading to successful treatment completion with a multicultural perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-29
Number of pages5
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Volume48
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

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Keywords

  • Health disparity
  • Race
  • Referral source
  • Substance abuse
  • Treatment outcomes

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