Schedule of voucher delivery influences initiation of cocaine abstinence

Kimberly C. Kirby, Douglas B. Marlowe, David S. Festinger, R. J. Lamb, Jerome J. Platt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


This study examined whether voucher delivery arrangements affect treatment outcome. First, 90 cocaine-dependent adults were randomly assigned to behavioral counseling or counseling plus vouchers for cocaine-free urine samples. The value of each voucher was low at the beginning but increased as the patient progressed (Voucher Schedule 1). Voucher Schedule 1 produced no improvements relative to counseling only. Next, 23 patients received vouchers on either Voucher Schedule I or Voucher Schedule 2. Voucher Schedule 2 began with high voucher values, but requirements for earning vouchers increased as the patient progressed. Average durations of cocaine abstinence were 6.9 weeks on Voucher Schedule 2 versus 2.0 weeks on Voucher Schedule 1 (p = .02). This confirms that vouchers can assist in initiating abstinence and that voucher delivery arrangements are critical.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)761-767
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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