Telephone continuing care (TCC) was compared to usual continuing care (UCC) on substance use and related problems among adults discharged from residential treatment. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either UCC or TCC. A tapered TCC protocol, initiated by paraprofessional staff and volunteers, was provided during the first three months following discharge. The TCC condition participants reported high satisfaction ratings with the procedure and were more than twice as likely to enter continuing care than UCC participants. At the three-month point, TCC patients reported significantly fewer past month substance problems than UCC patients. Among the subgroup of lower severity (LS) participants, the TCC-LS sample had both significantly more days abstinent and fewer past month substance problems at three months than the UCC-LS sample. The significant between-group differences in substance use outcomes were not maintained at the six-month follow-up. The high satisfaction ratings and early, favorable response among TCC patients suggest the procedure is promising. Further research with larger samples and over a longer period of time is necessary.
Keywords: Substance abuse, continuing care, aftercare, telephone, residential treatment