A Preliminary Examination of a Strengths-Based Treatment for Adolescent Substance Use Issues


  • Nicholas Harris Lakehead University
  • James N. R. Brazeau
  • Edward P. Rawana Lakehead University
  • Keith Brownlee Lakehead University
  • Dwight Mazmanian Lakehead University


Strengths-based intervention, Substance abuse treatment


Adolescent substance use disorders are a major public health concern. Given the many challenges associated with treating this population, ongoing research in this area is imperative. The purpose of the current study was to provide a preliminary examination of the substance use outcomes associated with an adolescent residential treatment program that utilizes a strengths-based approach. The current study examined treatment outcomes in 61 adolescents (aged 14 to 18 years) who completed a 5-week strengths-based residential treatment program for adolescent substance use issues. Results showed significant reductions in frequency of alcohol and marijuana use from pretreatment to 3 and 6 months posttreatment, and in opioid use frequency from pretreatment to 3 months posttreatment. In addition, changes in self-reported substance use goal progress scores indicated significant improvements in goal progress from pretreatment to 3 months posttreatment; these improvements were maintained at 6 months posttreatment. Finally, depressive symptomology was also found to decrease significantly from pretreatment to posttreatment, and this decrease was found to be predictive of better substance use outcomes at 6 months posttreatment. These findings add to the literature by providing preliminary data that support the utility of the strengths-based approach in the treatment of adolescence substance use issues.

Author Biography

Keith Brownlee, Lakehead University

Department of Social Work, Associate Professor,


Additional Files



How to Cite

Harris, N., Brazeau, J. N. R., Rawana, E. P., Brownlee, K., & Mazmanian, D. (2016). A Preliminary Examination of a Strengths-Based Treatment for Adolescent Substance Use Issues. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 50(2). Retrieved from https://cjc-rcc.ucalgary.ca/article/view/61065



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