Access to substance abuse treatment for youth with intellectual disabilities

Very psyched – the first of my dissertation-based articles is out!  The abstract is listed below, but you can access the full article from the Journal of Disability Policy Studies at this link.

Youth with mental retardation* (MR) have experienced increasinglevels of participation in community life over the last 30 years.This freedom has facilitated access to community life beyondschool settings; it has also created the potential for alcoholand drug use and for the development of substance abuse (SA).Little is known about access to SA treatment for youth withMR—an especially vulnerable population. Through the applicationof a set of standardized performance measures, this study examinesSA treatment access among youth aged 12 to 21 with and withoutMR (N = 150,009). Guided by Andersen’s sociobehavioralmodel of health care utilization, multivariate logistic regressionanalyses modeled SA treatment initiation and engagement. Youthwith MR and SA were less likely to initiate or engage in treatment.Engagement among youth with MR and SA was associated with beingmale and/or non-White. Implications relate to a need for improvedtreatment access for youth with MR and SA through cross-systemcollaboration.

* This study used the term “mental retardation” instead of “intellectual disability” as this was the term used in the data source drawn on for this work – ICD-9-CM codes.