This study explored causal relationships between post-treatment 12-step attendance and abstinence at multiple data waves and examined indirect paths leading from treatment initiation to abstinence 9-years later. Adults (N = 1945) seeking help for alcohol or drug use disorders from integrated healthcare organization outpatient treatment programs were followed at 1-, 5-, 7- and 9-years. Path modeling with cross-lagged partial regression coefficients was used to test causal relationships. Cross-lagged paths indicated greater 12-step attendance during years 1 and 5 and were casually related to past-30-day abstinence at years 5 and 7 respectfully, suggesting 12-step attendance leads to abstinence (but not vice versa) well into the post-treatment period. Some gender differences were found in these relationships. Three significant time-lagged, indirect paths emerged linking treatment duration to year-9 abstinence. Conclusions are discussed in the context of other studies using longitudinal designs. For outpatient clients, results reinforce the value of lengthier treatment duration and 12-step attendance in year 1.
Keywords: 12-Step attendance; Alcohol and drug treatment; Longitudinal data; Managed care; Path model.
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