Pretreatment dropout as a function of treatment delay and client variables

Document Type


Publication Date



Utilizing a retrospective analysis we examined factors correlated with preintake dropout in patients phoning to make intake appointments for cocaine treatment. Inquiries of 235 individuals calling our outpatient cocaine treatment program over a 7-month period were analyzed for relationships between patient age and gender; residence in the city where the program is located; marital status; referral source; reported problems with alcohol, marijuana, and heroin; reported last use of cocaine or other illicit stimulants; assigned counselor gender; person who made the appointment; days to the intake appointment; and attending the scheduled intake session. Only days to appointment was significantly (Wald = 12.4587, df = 1, p < .05 and χ2 = 17.7, df = 8, p < .05) correlated with attending the scheduled intake session. Appointments scheduled the same day differed significantly (χ2 = 4.3, n = 235, df = 1, p < .05) from appointments scheduled later. This suggests that client and situational variables are not significantly related to initial attendance and enhances the significance of systemic variables that are under a clinic's control, such as appointment delay. The results indicate that the longer the delay between the initial phone contact and the scheduled appointment, the less likely a client is to attend an appointment. Further, they suggest that the greatest decrease in initial attendance occurs in the first 24 hours following the phone inquiry. Taking a 'microscopic' look at the appointment delay variable is valuable in understanding and addressing preintake dropout.

Publication Title

Addictive Behaviors





First Page


Last Page



This article was published in Addictive Behaviors, Volume 20, Issue 1, Pages 111-115.

The published version is available at .

Copyright © 1996 Elsevier.

This document is currently not available here.