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Table 2 Examples of measures used to assess consumer-defined need for substance use services (n = 217)

From: The role of consumer perspectives in estimating population need for substance use services: a scoping review

Single item measures (n = 113)
Perceived need Do you feel you could use treatment for drug or alcohol use?” [67]
During the past 12 months, was there ever a time when you felt that you needed help for your emotions, mental health, or use of alcohol or drugs, but you didnt receive it?” [40]
Participants were read the following statement: “I now need to get into a drug abuse treatment program.” They were asked to answer along on a 5 point scale ranging from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree.” [68]
Self-assessed barriers to service use Have you ever thought you should seek help for drinking, but you did not go?” Those answering yes were queried about the reasons for not seeking treatment. Answers were grouped into financial, structural, attitudinal and other categories [69].
For all persons who reported having difficulty accessing needles, the following question was then asked: “If yes or sometimes, why do you find it hard to get new [unused] rigs?” The interviewer did not read out a list of possible explanations, but had a list of nine possible responses as well as space to note answers that did not fit with one of the nine categories [70].
Help-seeking from family and/or friends On the last occasion, how did you try to change your drug use?” (response categories: by myself; with family/friends; home detoxification; residential detoxification; methadone; doctor; counsellor; Alcoholics Anonymous) [71]
Participants were asked whether they had used a range of smoking-cessation supports and aids in the last year (family and friends were one source queried) [72]
Multiple item measures (n = 52)
Perceived need Participants were asked three items with five-point response scales ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree: (I) “In terms of the things I need right now, getting into drug abuse treatment is at the top of the list”; (2) “I now need to get into drug abuse treatment for drug addiction”; and (3) “Because of my drug use, I now need drug abuse treatment.” The sum of the scores on these items comprised a composite measure of the perceived need for treatment. Scores could range from 3 to 15 [73].
Did you think you needed help for alcohol or drug problems?” Those with a perceived need were asked, “Were there any times during the past 12 months when you got less treatment for emotional, mental health, alcohol, or drug problems than you needed, or had difficulties or delays in getting care?” [74]
Self-assessed barriers to service use Administered checklist of 36 commonly cited reasons for not seeking treatment for alcohol and drug dependence. Items pertain to areas like feelings, coping with stress (family, financial and personal), perceived useful effects of drugs, cost of treatment, perceived effectiveness, treatment related fears and social reasons. The answers were recorded as Yes/No [75].
Veterans may face obstacles getting or using mental health services for a number of reasons. Please rate how much you agree or disagree with each statement as it applies to you.” 17 statements related to treatment effectiveness (e.g., “I don’t think treatment will help me”), stigma (e.g., “I would be seen as weak by others”), and external barriers (“It’s hard getting time off work for treatment”) were listed. Responses ranked on a 4-point scale: 1, strongly disagree; 2, somewhat disagree; 3, somewhat agree; and 4, strongly agree [76].
Help-seeking from family and/or friends Participants were asked to rank the perceived helpfulness of 34 interventions and whether they were used in the previous two years. “Close friend” and “close family” were two interventions listed [34].
Participants were asked whether they had sought help from family and/or friends to reduce/cease methamphetamine use in the past 30 days. A second measure asked about help from family and/or friends in the past 12 months [77].
  1. Perceived need defined as an individual’s judgments about whether they require substance use services. Self-assessed barriers defined as an individual’s judgment regarding factors that impede substance use service utilization. Help-seeking defined as self-reporting seeking help from family or friends for substance use problems. Note that two studies which reported perceived need estimates did not specify whether a single or multi-item measure was used