Measuring Client Outcomes
A primary goal of the present research was to examine not only the nature of substance abuse among the elderly, but also the effects of treatment. In particular, the research was intended to address the questions: What proportion of clients appeared to benefit from the program? In what ways (life areas) did they exhibit improvement? And, what were the client and other factors associated with improvement? In order to address these questions, it was necessary to develop a new approach to assessing client outcomes. For various reasons (including lack of data at assessment), the usual pretest/posttest approach to evaluation was inappropriate. In addition, since other life areas were specifically targeted for treatment, outcome measures needed to include assessment in these other life areas as well. Finally, outcome measures in other life areas were needed to evaluate the relationship between reduced substance abuse and reduced problems in other life areas. Accordingly, the standard measure of program success for an addictions treatment program (i.e., reduced substance abuse) was relevant to the present research, but problematic because of the nature of the program. In addition, outcome measures in life areas other than substance abuse were perceived to be important measures in their own right.