Effectiveness of a culturally-attuned integrated cognitive behavioural therapy for Chinese young people with drug abuse in Hong Kong

Daniel Fu Keung Wong*, Xiao Yu Zhuang, Ting Kin Ng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Youth between 18 and 25 years old are among the most active drug abusers in any community globally, including in Hong Kong. Disturbing evidence about the deleterious effects of drug use on their physical and psychological health has been reported. However, a literature search found very few outcome studies on the psychosocial treatment models for young Chinese people. The present study is one of the first that has systematically developed and implemented an innovative and culturally attuned integrated cognitive behavioural therapy (ICBT) model that comprises motivational interviewing, CBT and relapse prevention in helping Chinese youth with drug abuse problems in an Asian community.

Method: A quasi-experimental matched-pairs design was adopted. Thirty-nine participants were assigned to the experimental group (ICBT) and 38 were assigned to the control group (treatment as usual [TAU]). Assessments were conducted at baseline, 4 months after the intervention, at the completion of the intervention (9 months) and 4 months after the completion of the intervention. Multilevel modelling and hierarchical regression analysis were performed for data analysis.

Results: There were significantly greater improvements in negative emotions, drug use frequency in the past 3 months, quality of life and coping strategies reported by the participants in the ICBT compared to the TAU group. Mediation analysis found that changes in dysfunctional attitudes significantly accounted for the treatment effects of the ICBT programme on negative emotions and quality of life, and changes in substance use coping strategies significantly mediated the treatment effects of the ICBT programme on substance dependency severity (SDS).

Conclusion: The findings provide initial support for the effectiveness of our culturally attuned ICBT model in improving negative emotions, drug use frequency and drug dependency severity, quality of life and adaptive coping skills among the Chinese youth and young adults with drug abuse problems. Such effects were sustained at the 4-month follow-up.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104970
Number of pages10
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Chinese young people
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Drug abuse
  • Hong Kong
  • Motivational interview
  • Relapse prevention


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