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Patients' Improvements Measured With the Pleasant Activities List and the Community Reinforcement Approach Happiness Scale: Preliminary Results

Dijkstra, Boukje A.G. PhD*; Roozen, Hendrik G. PhD*,†

Addictive Disorders & Their Treatment: March 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 1 - p 6–13
doi: 10.1097/ADT.0b013e31820bfc67
Original Articles

Objectives In general, patients with ongoing substance use disorders are associated with a reduced level of engagement in nonsubstance-related pleasant activities and impaired well-being. The aim of this study is to evaluate the value of the Pleasant Activities List (PAL) and Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA) Happiness Scale to detect changes in a clinical outpatient sample of alcohol-dependent individuals.

Methods By means of a pretreatment and posttreatment design, 34 actively drinking alcohol-dependent participants were consecutively enrolled in this study and referred to a 6-week outpatient CRA program that was focused on sustained abstinence. The PAL and the CRA Happiness Scale were administered to examine the value of both instruments in relation to treatment outcome.

Results The results indicate that both instruments were characterized by overall satisfactory internal consistencies and yielded robust improvements on virtually all subscales and thus were considered highly “sensitive” to detect changes between baseline and 1 month follow-up measurement. Moreover, the moderate and in general positive relationships among the subscales of the PAL and the Happiness Scale support the notion that the increase in rewarding activities is associated with improvements on well being and quality of life.

Conclusions Owing to the relatively low response costs, both instruments seem to be viable to adopt in program evaluations.

*Research & Development, Novadic-Kentron, Network for Addiction Treatment Services

Department of Forensic Psychiatry, Erasmus University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Reprints: Boukje A.G. Dijkstra, PhD, Novadic-Kentron, Post Box 243, 5260 AE Vught, The Netherlands (e-mail:

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.