Aims: Presumptive support was sought for mechanisms of action whereby two conceptually distinct aftercare programs, relapse prevention (RP) and 12-Step facilitation (TSF), impact upon substance abusers.
Patients and design: Adults who had just completed intensive treatment were assigned randomly to either RP (n=61) or TSF (n=70) aftercare programs.
Setting: Three residential treatment facilities.
Interventions: Trained counselors delivered to small groups a manualized aftercare program which focused either upon the utilization of cognitive-behavioral processes to orchestrate change through an individualized treatment plan (i.e. RP) or which sought to facilitate utilization of AA's 12 Steps (i.e. TSF).
Measurements: Process measures developed specifically to quantify either: (a) the changes in self-efficacy process in RP or (b) the utilization of AA's principles in TSF, as well as psychosocial and substance abuse indices were administered to all patients pre- and post-aftercare and at 6-month follow-up.
Findings: A significant relationship between changes in measures of self- efficacy for RP participants as well as a trend for a relationship between process-specific change for TSF participants partially satisfied the first condition for presumptive support. The fact that the intervention-specific mediators covaried with several outcome indices, and that removal of such mediators attenuated prediction of outcome met, respectively, the second and third conditions for presumptive support.
Conclusion: Carefully orchestrated RP and TSF aftercare programs yield process changes that are related positively to improved outcome.