Choosing a control group in effectiveness trials of behavioral drug abuse treatments.
Effectiveness trials are an important step in the scientific process of developing and evaluating behavioral treatments. The focus on effectiveness research presents a different set of requirements on the research design when compared with efficacy studies. The choice of a control condition has many implications for a clinical trial's internal and external validity. The purpose of this article was to provide a discussion of the issues involved in choosing a control group for effectiveness trials of behavioral interventions in substance abuse treatment. The authors provide a description of four trial designs and a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of each.