OBJECTIVE: Relationships between day hospital treatment goals, self-
help group participation, and substance use outcome were examined for 180
alcohol- or cocaine-dependent male patients in a day hospital Veterans
Administration substance abuse program. METHOD: The primary goals assessed
were completion of the day hospital program and participation in
posttreatment self-help groups. For subjects who completed the day hospital
program, progress toward three other goals was also assessed: decreased
denial, endorsement of 12-Step beliefs, and participation in self-help
groups during the day hospital program. The outcome measures were urine
toxicology and self-reports of alcohol or cocaine use at 4- and 7-month
post-intake follow-up interviews. RESULTS: Day hospital completion and
participation in posttreatment self-help groups predicted better outcome.
Self-help participation also predicted outcome after day hospital
completion was controlled. Among subjects who completed the day hospital
program, the other three goals did not predict substance use outcome.
However, involvement with self- help groups during the day hospital program
and decreases in denial predicted continued involvement with self-help
groups. CONCLUSIONS: Patients who complete day hospital substance abuse
rehabilitation and then continue to participate in self-help groups are
likely to have lower rates of alcohol and cocaine use during follow-up.
Furthermore, the beneficial effect of self-help group participation does
not appear to be strictly the result of motivation or some other patient