"Who gets in?": Recruitment and screening processes of outpatient substance abuse trials

Shelly L. Sayre, Mark Evans, Patricia S. Hokanson, Joy M. Schmitz, Angela L. Stotts, Patricia Averill, John Grabowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


A brief telephone-screening interview was conducted with 1759 callers seeking treatment for substance abuse at the Treatment Research Clinic (TRC) over a 16-month period. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of various recruitment methods in attracting eligible participants and to identify screening variables that characterized eligible and ineligible callers. Callers referred by friends and family were more likely to be eligible than callers from other referral sources. Callers seeking treatment for cocaine abuse who reported more severe alcohol/substance problems were more likely to be eligible for treatment protocols, while those with severe problems in other psychosocial areas (legal, medical, and psychiatric) were more often excluded. Alcohol- and nicotine-dependent callers reporting severe alcohol problems were more likely to be eligible but otherwise were not different from callers who were ineligible. The effectiveness of recruitment methods may not be the same for different types of substance use disorders. This study underscores the importance of having a sensitive screening assessment for recruiting a homogenous yet representative sample for outpatient substance abuse clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-398
Number of pages10
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research was supported by grants, they are: NIDA DA-08654 and DA-09262 and NIAAA grant AA-11216.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Clinical trials
  • Eligibility
  • Outpatient
  • Recruitment
  • Screening
  • Substance abuse


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