Use of the SF-36 in the Evaluation of a Drug Detoxification Program

Abstract

Objective: The aim of this study was to analyse whether the SF-36 questionnaire is a useful tool to evaluate the treatment outcome of a drug detoxification program. Methods: A pre–post assessment of consecutive referrals to a drug detoxification program of a psychiatric state hospital in north-western Germany was conducted. Seventy-nine males and twenty-one females with a diagnosis of multiple substance use were included. MOS short form 36 (SF-36) was used upon admission and discharge to assess changes in self-perceived health status. Severity scales from the addiction severity interview (ASI) were used to rate severity of illness by a physician at program entry. Results: Patients with severe comorbidity (hepatitis B, depression, attempted suicide) reported significant worse health states, compared to those without. Positive correlations between physician rated addiction severity and patients' self-perceived health status were observed, most strongly for mental health status. For the 48 patients with 2 assessments significant improvements during the treatment period were observed on SF-36 subscales ‘general health’ and ‘physical functioning’. Patients with severe physical and/or mental problems upon admission had more benefits from treatment than patients without. Conclusions: SF-36 questionnaire is a useful instrument to monitor the health status and to evaluate treatment effects in drug addicts.

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