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Treatment outcomes for young people presenting with alcohol as a primary or secondary substance of concern in residential treatment



  1. Dr John Howard
  2. Dr Anthony Arcuri


Regular and risky drinking is common among many young Australians, leading to significant short and long-term harm; yet little is known about the effectiveness of treatment and rehabilitation programs. There is a paucity of research in this area in relation to Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people and, in particular, the effectiveness of residential treatment for young Indigenous people has received little examination.

This study explores retention, outcomes, and program satisfaction; and aims to identify client-level predictors of retention; self-reported three-month post-treatment outcomes; and levels and areas of program satisfaction and dissatisfaction.

The study highlighted several client characteristics that impact on length of stay in treatment and satisfactory outcomes. Significant predictors of lower retention for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people were younger age; male gender; a history of major health problems; and a recent transient lifestyle.


The self-reported outcome analysis demonstrated positive outcomes for substance abuse, physical and mental health, family functioning and criminal behaviour; but not for social functioning.

Indigenous young people demonstrated less favourable outcomes, although levels of satisfaction were equally high.

Recent research papers

FARE continues to fund and undertake research that contributes to the knowledge-base about alcohol harms and strategies to reduce them.

This research is used to inform our approach to evidence-based alcohol policy development, ensuring that the solutions we are advocating for are informed by research. FARE’s research is also often quoted by governments, other not-for-profit organisations and researchers in public discussions about alcohol, demonstrating that FARE is seen as a leading source of information.

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