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Addiction Treatment Dropout: Exploring Patients’ Characteristics


Dr. López-Goñi, Departamento de Psicología y Pedagogía, Universidad Pública de Navarra, Campus de Arrosadía, 31006 Pamplona, Spain. E-mail:


This study explored the characteristics associated with treatment dropout in substance dependence patients. A sample of 122 addicted patients (84 treatment completers and 38 treatment dropouts) who sought outpatient treatment was assessed to collect information on sociodemographic, consumption (assessed by EuropASI), psychopathological (assessed by SCL-90-R), and personality variables (assessed by MCMI-II). Completers and dropouts were compared on all studied variables. According to the results, dropouts scored significantly higher on the EuropASI variables measuring employment/support, alcohol consumption, and family/social problems, as well as on the schizotypal scale of MCMI-II. Because most of the significant differences were found in EuropASI variables, three clusters analyses (2, 3, and 4 groups) based on EuropASI mean scores were carried out to determine clinically relevant information predicting dropout. The most relevant results were obtained when four groups were used. Comparisons between the four groups derived from cluster analysis showed statistically significant differences in the rate of dropout, with one group exhibiting the highest dropout rate. The distinctive characteristics of the group with highest dropout rate included the presence of an increased labor problem combined with high alcohol consumption. Furthermore, this group had the highest scores on three scales of the MCMI-II: phobic, dependent, and schizotypal. The implications of these results for further research and clinical practice are discussed. (Am J Addict 2011;21:78–85)