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Outpatient mental health care, self-help groups, and patients' one-year treatment outcomes.

Moos R, Schaefer J, Andrassy J, Moos B. Outpatient mental health care, self-help groups, and patients' one-year treatment outcomes. Journal of Clinical Psychology. 2001 Mar 1; 57(3):273-87.

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OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between the duration and amount of outpatient mental health care, participation in self-help groups, and patients' casemix-adjusted one-year outcomes. METHODS: A total of 2,376 patients with substance use disorders, 35% of whom also had psychiatric disorders, were assessed at entry to treatment and at a one-year follow-up. Information about the duration and amount of outpatient mental health care was obtained from a centralized health services utilization database. RESULTS: Patients who obtained regular outpatient mental health care over a longer interval and patients who attended more self-help group meetings had better one-year substance use and social functioning outcomes than did patients who were less involved in formal and informal care. The amount of outpatient mental health care did not independently predict one-year outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: The duration of outpatient mental health care and the level of self-help involvement are independently associated with less substance use and more positive social functioning. The provision of low intensity treatment for a longer time interval may be a cost-effective way to enhance substance abuse and psychiatric patients' long-term outcomes.Copyright 2001 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

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