Needs and Scientific Opportunities for Research on Substance Abuse Treatment Among Hispanic Adults

Published in: Drug and Alcohol Dependence, v. 84, suppl. 1, Sep. 2006, p. S64-S75

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2006

by Hortensia Amaro, Sandra Arevalo, Gerardo Gonzalez, Jose Szapocznik, Martin Y. Iguchi

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The results of a focused search of the literature on empirical studies of substance abuse treatment outcomes with Hispanic adults are reviewed. Also provided are key research opportunities and recommendations on substance abuse treatment for Hispanics. The paper is divided into two major sections: the first focuses on behavioral drug treatment studies on Hispanic adults, and the second identifies published original articles in pharmacotherapy for substance abuse disorders in Hispanic populations. The authors found a common theme that appears to cut across research on behavioral treatment and pharmacotherapy, namely that more empirical research is needed to determine which treatments are efficacious with Hispanic populations. For treatment modalities not associated with promising effect sizes with Hispanic samples, cultural modifications may be needed to improve the compatibility of the treatment with Hispanic culture. For those treatments found to have promising effect sizes with Hispanic populations, follow-up analyses and/or studies should be conducted to ascertain whether the treatment is differentially efficacious with various Hispanic subgroups, with Hispanics at different levels of acculturation, and with Hispanics from various socioeconomic backgrounds. The authors stress the need for theory-driven interventions to be developed specifically for well-characterized Hispanic subgroups (e.g., suburban, middle-income Puerto Ricans living in the Northeast).

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