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Dual Diagnosis Self-Help Referral

This study has been completed.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
VA Office of Research and Development Identifier:
First received: February 1, 2006
Last updated: April 6, 2015
Last verified: August 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
Intervention Model: Parallel 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 VA Office of Research and Development:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Psychiatric Functioning at 6 Months [ Time Frame: 6 months ]
    Addiction Severity Index psychiatric composite ranges from 0 to 1, with 1 indicating more severe problems.

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 ]

Enrollment: 287
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   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
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
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00286728

United States, California
VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, CA
Palo Alto, California, United States, 94304-1290
Sponsors and Collaborators
VA Office of Research and Development
Principal Investigator: Christine Timko, PhD VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, CA
  More Information

Responsible Party: VA Office of Research and Development Identifier: NCT00286728     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: IIR 05-014
Study First Received: February 1, 2006
Results First Received: September 15, 2014
Last Updated: April 6, 2015

Keywords provided by VA Office of Research and Development:
self-help groups
referral and consultation processed this record on May 22, 2017