College of Osteopathic Medicine Faculty Articles

Title

Can failure carefully observed become a springboard to success?

ISBN or ISSN

1082-6084

Publication Title

Substance use & misuse

Volume

47

Issue

13-14

Publication Date / Copyright Date

11-1-2012

First Page

1384

Last Page

1397

Abstract

Since its inception, the addictions field has had a history of failure: failures in conceptualizations, in treatment, in interventions, in policies, in process as well as outcome assessment. Certain actions and activities have had a less than stellar effect which may lead to feelings of personal failure among practitioners, the tagging of processes and programs as being failures when they are not so, as well as an identification of the person being intervened with, by self and others, as being a failure or loser. This paper discusses how to define success and failure and the need to identify both the short(er) and long(er) term, as well as temporary and permanent effects, including the implications of using binary (success or failure; success and failure) and nonbinary (and in addition) categories of assessment. The need to clarify expectations and to establish goals and measurable effects are noted. Being open to accepting results which may be personally disappointing, initially, but which offer opportunities for needed changes may lead to new developments in the field and the establishment of better interventions.

Disciplines

Medicine and Health Sciences | Public Health

Keywords

Goals, Humans, Research Design, Substance-Related Disorders, Treatment Failure