Dual Diagnosis Self-Help Referral

This study has been completed.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Department of Veterans Affairs
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
First received: February 1, 2006
Last updated: April 15, 2014
Last verified: April 2014

This project will help counselors in substance abuse treatment programs make effective referrals of dually diagnosed patients (those with a co-occurring psychiatric disorder) to self-help groups.

Condition Intervention
Dual Diagnosis
Behavioral: Intensive referral to dual-focused self-help

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Non-Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Dual Diagnosis Self-Help Group Referral: Outcomes and Services Use

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Department of Veterans Affairs:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • substance use and psychiatric functioning at 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years [ Time Frame: 6 months, 1 year, 2 years ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • mental health services use and costs at 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years [ Time Frame: 6 months, 1 year, 2 years ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Estimated Enrollment: 416
Study Start Date: April 2006
Study Completion Date: September 2010
Primary Completion Date: September 2010 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Arm 1
Intensive referral to dual-focused self-help groups
Behavioral: Intensive referral to dual-focused self-help
4 group sessions to introduce patients to dual focused groups
No Intervention: Arm 2
Usual care

Detailed Description:


Dual diagnosis (psychiatric and substance use) patients' (DDPs) participation in 12-step mutual-help groups is linked to lower relapse and treatment utilization rates. However, under usual referral, many DDPs do not attend, or sustain attendance of, substance-focused groups (SFG). DDPs may benefit from dual-focused groups (DFGs).


(1) Implement and validate procedures to help counselors make effective referrals to DFGs. DDPs were assigned to a standard- or intensive-referral to DFG condition to determine the extent to which intensive referral, compared to standard referral, increased patients' mutual-help group participation. (2) Determine whether DDPs who received intensive referral had better substance use and psychiatric outcomes.


DDPs entering VA outpatient mental health treatment received either standard (N=145) or intensive (N=142) referral. Standard referral consisted essentially of the counselor recommending DFG participation. The keys to intensive referral were a DFG orientation and the counselor facilitating direct contact between the patient and a DFG member, and following up on recommendations for mutual help. Patients were followed at six months (80%), one year (81%) and two years (80%) to determine whether intensive referral resulted in more DFG and SFG participation, and better substance use and psychiatric outcomes.




Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Dually diagnosed veterans entering outpatient mental health treatment

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Unable to correctly answer the Orientation and Registration questions of the Mini-Mental State Examination
  Contacts and Locations
Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00286728

United States, California
VA Palo Alto Health Care System
Palo Alto, California, United States, 94304-1290
Sponsors and Collaborators
Principal Investigator: Christine Timko, PhD VA Palo Alto Health Care System