Results and recent findings on the Minnesota Model

Several authors question the conclusions of studies on the results of the Minnesota Model on the basis of its methodology (Cook, 1988; Stinchfield et Owen, 1998). However, based on the results of the MATCH project (9) in 1997 (in Stinchfield & Owen, 1998), 12-step programs are found to be more effective in the long term than cognitive behavioural therapy and Motivation Enhancement Therapy. The study by Stinchfield et Owen was conducted on a sample of 1,083 patients addicted to alcohol and drugs in Hazelden. Patients underwent a MM treatment (10). During a follow-up study (1-6 and 12 months after the end of the treatment), extra data on 716 patients were collected with the participation of those close to the patients. (collateral) (11).

Results show an abstinence rate of 76.9% in the first month, with decreased effectiveness after 6 and 12 months (abstinence rates of 59.1% and 52.8%), whereas after a year, 34.8% of patients consume smaller quantities than before the treatment. Despite relapse rates, after a year there is a statistically meaningful difference between consumption before and after treatment. In addition to abstinence, improvements in other areas can be observed: participation in AA or NA, improvements in personal relationships and wellbeing.

Similar results were reported at Center City et at the Hazelden Center for Youth and Families. Abstinence appears to depend on treatment completion. Even higher than the rate of abstinence (12), 70% to 80% of patients experience an improvement in their quality of life, with significant reduction of legal and health problems.

The Irish evaluation project Aiseiri (Leane & Powell, 1994) (13) shows an abstinence ratio of 80.59% within the studied group (of which 81.48% abstained for at least a year). When patients who refused to participate in the survey are taken into account, this figure falls to 60.52% (14). Consequently, we can observe a well-founded relation between continuous abstinence and treatment completion, participation in AA and other post-treatment activities. Within the studied group, parameters other than abstinence were also examined, showing the following positive results:

  • Relationships with partners and children improve more gradually but significantly (respectively 75.6% and 83.3%). In addition to improving existing friendships (64%), an important aspect is the development (through AA) of a new circle of friends, not including addicts.
  • Amongst the 52,5% who fail to abstain, a different perception of the disease can be observed, with an intake decrease after treatment.
  • 76.11% mention an improvement in their quality of life, which becomes apparent in different areas: interpersonal relationships, more balanced psychological wellbeing, self-confidence…
  • 73.13% were working at the time of the survey (15). Furthermore, 62.68% confirm a noticeable improvement at work and in their finances.
  • 80.59% mention an improvement in physical wellbeing. From a mental point of view, increased self-confidence and identity awareness.
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