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Robert C. Sterling, PhD

Contact Dr. Sterling

900 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

(215) 790-9942

Research and Clinical Interests

Substance abuse, applied evaluation/outcomes research

The accumulated body of research supports the efficacy of the psychosocial treatment of addictive disorders. However individual differences in both history and severity of addiction suggests that a one-size fits all approach to substance abuse treatment will not maximize the likelihood of positive outcomes being obtained. Therefore a major focus of research activities in the Division of Substance Abuse Programs has been the identification of individual as well as program-level factors that promote patient retention in outpatient treatment.

To accomplish our research goals, we frequently make use of extensive assessment of personality and addiction severity as part of an attempt to both prospectively as well retrospectively match patients to psychosocial treatments. Clinical trial techniques are also frequently used to evaluate the efficacy of psychosocial as well as medication interventions. Applied data analytic techniques such as mixed model multi-factor ANOVA and multiple regression are commonly employed.

It is our hope that results from our research studies will guide practicing clinicians in the optimal assignment of individuals identified with an addictive disorder to treatment. Given the axiomatic finding that those who remain treatment evince better outcomes than those who do not, our ultimate goal is the successful identification of individual and program-level factors that maximize the likelihood of patient retention in outpatient substance abuse care.