Publication Details

Deane, F. P., Wootton, D. J., Hsu, C. & Kelly, P. J. (2012). Predicting dropout in the first 3 months of 12-step residential drug and alcohol treatment in an Australian sample. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 73 (2), 216-225.


Objective: Premature termination from treatment is a major factor associated with poorer drug and alcohol treatment outcomes. The present study investigated client-related baseline predictors of dropout at 3 months from a faith-based 12-step residential drug treatment program. Method: Data were collected over a period of 14 months from eight residential drug and alcohol treatment programs run by The Australian Salvation Army. The final sample consisted of 618 participants, including 524 men (84.8%) and 94 women (15.2%). Predictor variables of interest were age, gender, primary drug of concern, criminal involvement, psychological distress, drug cravings, self-efficacy to abstain, spirituality, forgiveness of self and others, and life purpose. At 3 months, 264 participants (42.7%) remained in the treatment program, and 354 participants (57.3%) had dropped out. Results: Binary logistic regression revealed that individuals were more likely to drop out by the 3-month time frame if at intake their primary drug of concern was a drug other than alcohol or they reported greater forgiveness of self. Conclusions: To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to examine forgiveness as a predictor of dropout from a drug treatment program. Assessing patient’s primary drug of concern and levels of forgiveness may be useful for residential drug treatment providers in constructing programs that provide differential treatment based on the results of these assessments.