FRN Research Brief: Treatment Satisfaction


Satisfaction with treatment services is an important component in evaluating health care quality. While this concept is often measured and discussed there is limited research on the topic as it relates to substance abuse treatment services, and studies on treatment satisfaction have typically looked only at overall satisfaction.

Our Findings

As part of our ongoing evaluation, data collected from March to December of 2009 from clients at La Paloma Treatment Center, Michael’s House, and The Canyon was analyzed. Participants provided data on their own level of satisfaction at discharge on thirty-five items measuring various components of their experience. For each item, clients indicated their level of satisfaction on a five-point scale. Six‐hundred and sixty‐five individuals completed the survey. For the sake of brevity, these thirty‐five items were reduced to two global measures of satisfaction and nine subscales ranging from two to five items. All of the subscales had high levels of internal consistency as measured by Chronbach’s alpha. For this sample satisfaction rates are shown in the graph above. Subscales are presented in descending levels of satisfaction. It is important to note, that all levels of satisfaction are within the range of satisfied. The two global measures of satisfaction— an overall rating of satisfaction with experience at the facility and a measure of whether the individual would recommend the facility to others yielded satisfaction scores of 3.99 and 4.16 respectively. Analyses of possible relationships between the composite scores and global items were also conducted. A simple one‐way ANOVA yielded results suggesting that all items were related to both global items. More sophisticated analyses consisting of ordinal regression and multinomial regression analyses were then initiated. Based on multinomial regression and ordinal regression, individual therapy, medical staff availability, program schedule, respect/ communication, and physical plant were the most significant predictors of recommending program to others. For the overall rating global item, all composite scores were significant with the exceptions of recreational/free time and program rules.


These findings compare favorably to other samples from substance abuse treatment facilities. It is important to note that all of these studies are conducted with publicly funded treatment programs, which may have differing perspectives with respect to client satisfaction; and these studies had very limited measures of service satisfaction— only a few items. There are also some limits to FRN’s data as our findings are based on a limited sample of participants in an ongoing data collection process, and additional data may vary from these results. However, these findings clearly demonstrate that program participants are satisfied with the services provided by FRN. The data outlining differences in satisfaction ratings may be helpful in pinpointing areas that may require attention. The next step will be to investigate the relationship between outcomes and service satisfaction.

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