Introduction and Aims
Patient‐reported outcome measures (PROM) and experience measures (PREM) for substance use disorder (SUD) treatment exist for adults but have unknown relevance for adolescents. This study aimed to explore adolescents’ perceptions of effective SUD treatment and possible barriers to completing PROMs and PREMs to guide efforts to adapt the South African Addiction Treatment Services Assessment (SAATSA) for adolescents.
Design and Methods
Five focus groups were conducted with 38 adolescent service users recruited from residential and outpatient SUD treatment facilities in South Africa. Group discussions explored perceptions of treatment components necessary for desired SUD treatment outcomes, treatment experiences that support engagement in care, and perceptions of PROM and PREM completion.
Participants viewed treatment elements that enhance motivation for change, coping and emotional regulation; provide recreational alternatives to substance use; and improve family relationships and home environments as critical to positive treatment outcomes. They reflected that provider characteristics and developmentally and culturally appropriate services facilitated engagement in treatment. PROM and PREM completion seemed acceptable, with participants suggesting ways to enhance their appeal.
Discussion and Conclusion
Findings confirm that adult‐oriented PROMs and PREMs require adaptation for adolescents. Service user inputs identified ways to expand the content of the SAATSA to better reflect adolescents’ treatment priorities. These inputs have also guided changes to item formulation and administration procedures to enhance the SAATSA’s acceptability for adolescents. Ensuring the SAATSA addresses treatment outcomes and experiences that matter to adolescents is vital for generating information to guide improvements to adolescent SUD services.