Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Relational Health of Teens in Substance Use Treatment

International Nurses Society on Addictions
1/2015 – 12/2015


Relationships and “connectedness” are critical to adolescent development and health. Less well described are the components and qualities of relational engagement among adolescents involved in substance use (SU) treatment. What remains unclear is how relationships affect SU treatment success. The purpose of this exploration is to differentiate gender-specific components of relational health and to assess the impact of inpatient treatment on relational health over time. This longitudinal survey design will measure dimensions and domains of relational health in 2 groups, boys and girls, over 3 time periods (within one week of admission and discharge, and 3 months after discharge) to assess gender differences and program effect. Specific aims are to: 1) Determine differences between boys and girls in three dimensions and three domains of supportive relationships, using the Relational Health Indices for Youth (Liang, et. al., 2010); and 2) Measure changes in dimensions and domains of relational health over time. This research follows a preliminary study of girls’ relational health needs in the same facility, using a refined tool and adding boys to the study. The Relational Health Indices for Youth (RHI-Y) (Liang, et. al., 2010) measures growth fostering relationships among adolescents. The instrument was tested and validated to measure co-occurrence of relational health and psychological/social adjustment and may be useful for designing treatment or predicting changes in well-being. Boys (n=90) and girls (n=90) aged 13-19, receiving inpatient SU treatment will be recruited to participate in the longitudinal study and respond to demographic, substance use, and RHI-Y surveys 3 times over approximately 5 months’ time. Assessment of changes in RHI-Y scores during and post treatment will be examined using repeated measures analysis of variance with multiple comparison tests. Results will contribute to the overall goal of improving age and gender-specific treatment strategies for adolescentsubstance users.

Primary Investigator

Roxanne Vandermause
Roxanne Vandermause, PhD