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Effects Among Specific Client Populations Should be Examined

Many of the research recommendations contained in this report could be restated to apply to specific sub-populations of clients. For example, while it is important to study the factors related to insurance coverage in the aggregate population, it is also important to study how these factors operate among women, among clients with co-occurring mental disorders, or among low-income clients. Barriers to insurance or limitations of insurance coverage may have particular relevance for some of these groups. Similarly, research on barriers to treatment access should be conducted both with reference to the overall population and with reference to populations likely to experience greater access barriers. We are some distance from knowing which treatments offer the best promise of effectiveness, but we are even farther from knowing whether some treatment modalities, settings, intensities, or goals are more or less effective among particular groups such as ethnic minorities, homeless inebriates, depressed alcoholics, or elderly clients. Likewise, the cost-effectiveness of differing treatment strategies can be expected to vary among these groups.

As a general principle, NIAAA recognizes the need to support research that focuses on client populations as well as research on the aggregate population. Relationships among organizational factors, financing arrangements, treatment outcomes, costs, and access may differ for different client populations, and research should try to identify and explain these differences. It may not be necessary to restate each of the research recommendations in a way that specifically highlights its applicability to client diversity, but it should be clearly understood that studies of specific client populations are a necessary and integral part of all branches of services research inquiry.

Updated: October 2000