Substance Use and Mental Health Treatment Retention among Young Adults

Abstract: In Western and European cultures where marriage and parenthood are increasingly delayed to the late twenties and early thirties, a distinct developmental stage between adolescence and adulthood has been described as “emerging” or “young” adults. Development theory suggests that these “younger” adults have less social control and exercise higher levels of impulsivity and risky behavior than their older counterparts. This study examined the effect of age on treatment retention among adults with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders enrolled in private, residential treatment. Study participants included 929 adults (198 young adults, 18-25 years, and 761 older adults, ≥ 26 years) receiving private residential treatment in the U.S. Bivariate analyses, life tables, and Cox regression (survival analyses) were used to examine the effects of age on treatment retention.


  • Susie Adams, Vanderbilt University
  • Siobhan A. Morse, Foundations Recovery Network, The Addiction Services Division at Universal Health Services
  • Sam Choi, Alabama A & M University
  • Cayce Watson, Lipscomb University
  • Brian E Bride, Georgia State University
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