Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 265–284

A Long-Term Family-Oriented Treatment for Adolescents with Substance-Related Disorders: An Outcome Study


    • University of Detroit Mercy and Pathway Family Center. Department of PsychologyCentral Michigan University
  • David E. Key
    • Pathway Family Center
  • Elizabeth M. Hill
    • University of Detroit Mercy
  • John T. Franklin
    • University of Detroit Mercy

DOI: 10.1023/

Cite this article as:
Deskovitz, M., Key, D.E., Hill, E.M. et al. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal (2004) 21: 265. doi:10.1023/


Treatment programs for substance-disordered adolescents increasingly use family and Twelve-Step orientations. Pathway Family Center adds to that model a long term stay (9 to 15 months), a day treatment setting, and the unique feature of temporarily placing the client with the family of another client who has progressed further in the program. This outcome study surveyed the 100 clients and their parents from the first five years of the program, using mailed questionnaires and telephone interviews. Information was collected from 51% of clients and 61% of parents, and client-parent agreement was high. Ninety-eight percent of adolescents reported that they did not return to prior drug severity, 51% reported no use since discharge, 23% reported one or two relapses, 88.2% reported improved family relations, and 90.2% reported improved quality of life. In comparing those who remained completely abstinent with those who relapsed, the non-relapsers were twice as likely to have a diagnosis of uni-polar depression at admission. We hypothesize that the depression is associated with “hitting bottom,” an indication that the client may be motivated to commit to major change. These outcomes compare very favorably with those of other adolescent treatment programs.

AdolescentTreatment OutcomeFamily SystemLong-Term TreatmentDay Treatment12-Step Program
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© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2004