Variation in access to outpatient substance abuse treatment: organizational factors and conceptual issues. Academic Article uri icon


  • Access is a multidimensional concept representing the ease with which health services are initiated and sustained. In this study, conceptual domains of access--affordability, acceptability, accommodation, availability, service diversity, and competitive stance--are hypothesized to predict the time clients wait to receive services. A large, recently surveyed, nationally representative sample of outpatient substance abuse treatment organizations provided the data. Multivariate regression analysis of 326 organizations was conducted with the conceptual domains sequentially predicting the time clients waited to receive service. Results show that increased waiting time was positively associated with treatment staff case overload and the average number of months clients spent in treatment and negatively associated with the percent of a treatment organization's client base on public assistance. Implications for policy makers and clinicians concerning client selection strategies by organizations and problems with the organizational capacity to treat clients are discussed. Areas for future research also are highlighted.

published proceedings

  • J Subst Abuse

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • McCaughrin, WC||Howard, DL

publication date

  • January 1996