Contingency management treatments: Reinforcing abstinence versus adherence with goal-related activities

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2006 Jun;74(3):592-601. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.74.3.592.


Contingency management (CM) interventions usually reinforce submission of drug-negative specimens, but they can also reinforce adherence with goal-related activities. This study compared the efficacy of the 2 approaches. Substance-abusing outpatients (N = 131) were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 12-week treatments: standard treatment (ST), ST with CM for submitting negative urine toxicology screens, or ST with CM for completing goal-related activities. CM patients remained in treatment longer and achieved more abstinence than ST patients, but the CM condition that reinforced submission of negative samples resulted in better outcomes than the CM condition that reinforced goal-related activities. Abstinence at 6- and 9-month follow-ups did not differ by group, but longest duration of abstinence achieved during treatment was associated with abstinence posttreatment.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Community Mental Health Services
  • Female
  • Goals*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Reinforcement, Psychology*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control