Services are More Effective when Tailored to Individuals Client's Needs

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1. Statement of the Problem

The problem addressed in this study is that despite broad recognition that services are more effective when tailored to individual clients’ needs, there is limited evidence of the impact that services matched to client needs have on treatment outcomes.

2. Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to examine the fundamental social work practice principle that treatment is more effective when tailored to meet client-identified needs. Specifically, the study examines the gender differences in matching services to client needs in comprehensive substance abuse treatment outcomes. Moreover, the study examines the components of importance in substance abuse treatment related to impact for women and men. Finally, the study answers the following research question: What are gender differences in the impact of matching client-identified health and social services needs on the outcomes of duration and substance use when controlling for other service characteristics such as access services and outcome-targeted services?

3. Type of Study

This study was a quantitative study.

4. Study Design

According to Krysik & Finn (2010), explanatory research focuses on comprehending the relationship between variables, as well as generating an in-depth understanding of the problem area. Furthermore, the authors’ explain how explanatory research often seeks to establish cause-and-effect relationships that enable us to predict future events. Finally, the authors give examples of the utility of explanatory research to test certain aspects of a problem, such as “the effectiveness of intervention strategies aimed at alleviating the problem”, which is applicable to the present study being critiqued. Finally, the au...

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...hat the sample is largely comparable with other large-scale treatment follow-up studies except the NTIES sample contains a higher proportion of black and Latino clients. The NTIES is relevant to public sector programs however, not as informative about programs serving higher income individuals. Therefore, I understand the higher proportion of black and Latino clients as an asset, making the sample more culturally competent.


Marsh, J. C., Cao, D., & Shin, H. (2009). Closing the Need-Service Gap: Gender Differences in Matching Services to Client Needs in Comprehensive Substance Abuse Treatment. Social Work Research, 33(3), 183-192. Retrieved from
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