Publication Details

Deane, F. P., Kelly, P. J., Crowe, T., Lyons, G. C.B. & Cridland, E. K. (2014). The feasibility of telephone follow-up interviews for monitoring treatment outcomes of Australian residential drug and alcohol treatment programs. Substance Abuse, 35 (1), 21-29.


Background: Telephone follow-up interviewing is one method of monitoring treatment outcomes of individuals involved in drug and alcohol treatment programs. The present study is the first to examine the feasibility and generalizability of data obtained from telephone follow-up interviews after drug and alcohol treatment in Australia. Methods: Participants attended 1 of 8 Salvation Army Recovery Service Centres where staff administered outcome measures at intake. Three-month postdischarge telephone follow-up interviews were conducted by researchers from the Illawarra Institute for Mental Health, University of Wollongong. Results: A sample of 700 clients was obtained for follow-up (582 males; 118 females). A 51% follow-up rate was achieved at a cost of US$82 per completed interview. No significant differences in baseline characteristics between responding and nonresponding participants were found. Conclusions: Overall, the telephone methodology was shown to be feasible and relatively inexpensive. However, the introduction of outcome measures at the service level in parallel with follow-up data collection procedures complicated the collection of response data. The burden of introducing outcome measures in residential services may be reduced by utilizing a phased implementation strategy.



Link to publisher version (DOI)