The effect of a behavioral activation treatment for substance use on post-treatment abstinence: a randomized controlled trial.


Journal Article

AIMS: To compare outcomes for a behavioral activation group treatment for substance use [life enhancement treatment for substance use (LETS ACT)] versus a time and group size-matched control condition delivered in a residential treatment setting. DESIGN: Single-site two-arm parallel-group randomized clinical trial with follow-up assessment at 3, 6 and 12 months post-treatment. SETTING: Residential substance use treatment facility in the United States. PARTICIPANTS: Participants were 263 adults [mean age 42.7 (11.8); 29.5% female; 95.4% African American; 73.2% court mandated] whose insurance dictated 30-day (65.9%) or 90-day (34.1%) treatment duration. INTERVENTION AND COMPARATOR: LETS ACT (n = 142) is a treatment developed originally for depression and modified for substance use. It teaches participants to increase positively reinforcing value-driven activities in order to counter depression and relapse. The control group [supportive counseling (SC); n = 121] received time and group size-matched supportive counseling. Treatment was delivered in five or eight 1-hour sessions depending on patient length of stay. MEASUREMENTS: Percentage abstinent at follow-up, percentage of substance use days among those reporting use, depressive symptoms [Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)] and adverse consequences of drug use [Short Inventory of Problems-Alcohol and Drug (SIP-AD)]. FINDINGS: LETS ACT had significantly higher abstinence rates at 3 months [odds ratio (OR) = 2.2, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.3-3.7], 6 months (OR = 2.6, 95% CI= 1.3-5.0) and 12 months (OR = 2.9, 95% CI = 1.3-6.1) post-treatment compared with SC. LETS ACT participants reported significantly fewer adverse consequences from substance use at 12 months post-treatment [B = 4.50, standard error (SE) = 2.17, 95% CI = 0.22-8.78]. Treatment condition had no effect on percentage substance use days among those who resumed use or on change in depressive symptoms; the latter decreased over time only in those who remained abstinent after residential treatment irrespective of condition (B = 0.43, SE = 0.11, 95% confidence interval = 0.22-0.65). CONCLUSIONS: A behavioral activation group treatment for substance use (LETS ACT) appears to increase the likelihood of abstinence and reduce adverse consequences from substance use up to 12 months post-treatment.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Daughters, SB; Magidson, JF; Anand, D; Seitz-Brown, CJ; Chen, Y; Baker, S

Published Date

  • March 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 113 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 535 - 544

PubMed ID

  • 28963853

Pubmed Central ID

  • 28963853

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1360-0443

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/add.14049


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England