The impact of employment counseling on substance user treatment participation and outcomes

Authors: Resnick, S. G., Neale, M. S., & Rosenheck, R. A.
Year Published 2004
Publication Substance Use & Misuse
Volume 39
Number 13
Pages 2391-2424
Publisher Marcel Dekker

Employment Counseling (EC) is one of the more frequently received ancillary services in substance user treatment. Examining the impact of EC on treatment participation, post discharge abstinence and employment helps determine need for services and future study.


This article provides an analysis of the impact employment counseling has on individual‚ participation in treatment, post discharge abstinence and employment.


The setting included various community mental health centers providing substance abuse counseling.


A sub-sample of 988 adult clients discharged from 143 outpatient non- methadone substance abuse treatment facilities from the Alcohol and Drug Services Study was used.

Data Collection

Data obtained from the treatment record abstracts and from interviews with the same clients were used in multivariate regressions that controlled for client demographic and background characteristics, facility characteristics, and characteristics of the sampled treatment episode. (pg. 2397)
Five dependent variables were examined: treatment participation, treatment duration, treatment completion, abstinence since discharge, and employment since discharge.


Clients were in two groups for comparison. One group had met-need for employment counseling. The second group had unmet need and did not participate in employment counseling.


Clients with met need for employment counseling had longer treatment duration than those with unmet need (did not participate in employment counseling). There was no significant difference for treatment completion between the met-need and the unmet-need groups. Receipt of employment counseling has no impact on post discharge abstinence. Clients with met need for employment counseling were more than three times more likely to be employed at any time after discharge than clients with unmet needs. (p 2407)


This study showed that clients who needed and received employment counseling have both better treatment participation and greater likelihood of employment after discharge than clients with unmet need. (p 2413)

Populations Male & Female
Outcomes Employment acquisition
NIDILRR Funded Not Reported
Research Design Observational
Peer Reviewed Yes