Date of Conferral





Public Health


Clarence J. Schumaker


Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is associated with high mortality rates and remains a

public health concern in the United States. Although, numerous interventions are offered

for adolescents struggling with substance misuse, minimal research is available on the

effectiveness of treatments to reduce recidivism. Researching the most effective

treatment offered to adolescents is crucial to treatment adherence and recovery. The

purpose of this study is to determine the most effective SUD treatment for adolescent

patients by exploring the perceptions and experiences of treatment therapists providing

treatment. The trans-theoretical model was used with elements of the social cognitive

theory as a guide to, adolescent placement in treatment programs and behavior changes.

Twenty-three treatment therapists at Community Mental Health Centers from 23 counties

in the State of Indiana were interviewed using the Colaizzi phenomenological

methodological approach to obtain verification, validation, and validity for this study.

Results suggested that assertive post-discharge plans after SUD treatment, motivational

interviewing, cognitive-behavioral therapy, higher power faith for strength, and family

involvement was evidence of effectiveness. Seven themes emerged from 225 significant

statements. Among the dominant themes were understanding of SUD as a disease and the

importance of family involvement in the treatment process. The study findings have the

potential for positive social change to address the stigma of stereotyping of SUD through

educational campaigns.