skip to Main Content

Adolescents entering chemical dependency treatment in private managed care: ethnic differences in treatment initiation and retention

PURPOSE: There has been little research on adolescents of different ethnicities in chemical dependency (CD) treatment, despite a focus on ethnic disparities in health care in recent years. In particular, little is known about ethnic differences in utilization of adolescent CD services. METHODS: We examined treatment initiation and treatment retention in a sample of African American, Native American, Latino, Asian American, and Caucasian adolescents entering CD treatment in a private, managed care health plan (n = 419). Our conceptual framework included ethnicity as the main factor as well as measures of external pressure and internal motivation/readiness for treatment, family environment, psychiatric co-morbidities, and severity of alcohol and drug problems. Logistic and Poisson regression were used to examine differences. RESULTS: The study found ethnic differences in treatment initiation and treatment retention. Native American adolescents had lower odds of returning after intake to initiate treatment compared with Caucasians (odds ratio [OR] .35, p = .009), and African American youth spent less time in treatment than Caucasians (RR: .49, p < .001). CONCLUSIONS: Study findings indicate differences in treatment initiation for Native Americans and in treatment retention for African Americans. Intake and orientation sessions offer an opportunity to intervene with Native American youth. Given their high psychiatric co-morbidity, they may also benefit from the availability of psychiatric services. Even after adjusting for severity, we found shorter treatment retention for African American adolescents and suggest that organizational factors, such as cultural competency, may play an important role.

Authors: Campbell CI; Weisner C; Sterling S

J Adolesc Health. 2006 Apr;38(4):343-50.

PubMed abstract

Explore all studies and publications

Back To Top