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Utility of the Time-Line Follow-Back to assess substance use among homeless adults
Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center Publications and Presentations
  • Jo Ann Y. Sacks, National Development and Research Institutes, Inc.
  • Robert E. Drake, Psychiatric Research Center
  • Valerie F. Williams, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Steven M. Banks, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • James M. Herrell, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment
UMMS Affiliation
Department of Psychiatry
Publication Date
Document Type
Adult; Age Factors; Comorbidity; Diagnosis, Dual (Psychiatry); Female; Homeless Persons; Humans; Male; Mental Disorders; Outcome Assessment (Health Care); Personality Inventory; Prevalence; Psychiatric Status Rating Scales; Psychometrics; Reproducibility of Results; Retrospective Studies; Sensitivity and Specificity; Severity of Illness Index; Substance-Related Disorders

Assessing substance use of homeless persons is a critical task. This study examines the test-retest reliability, concurrent validity, and sensitivity to change of the Time-Line Follow-Back interview, a calendar instrument used to assess days and quantities of alcohol use and days of illicit drug use, in the multisite Collaborative Program to Prevent Homelessness (CPPH). The Time-Line Follow-Back was reliable for assessing use during the past month and the recent 6 months. Results from the Time-Line Follow-Back were correlated with other self-reports of use, with research diagnoses of substance use disorder, and with clinician ratings of severity of substance abuse. The Time-Line Follow-Back detected changes in clients with severe mental illness and in those with less severe psychiatric problems.

DOI of Published Version
J Nerv Ment Dis. 2003 Mar;191(3):145-53. Link to article on publisher's site
Related Resources
Link to Article in PubMed
PubMed ID
Citation Information
Jo Ann Y. Sacks, Robert E. Drake, Valerie F. Williams, Steven M. Banks, et al.. "Utility of the Time-Line Follow-Back to assess substance use among homeless adults" Vol. 191 Iss. 3 (2003) ISSN: 0022-3018 (Linking)
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