Research: Testing the Bridge | The Salvation Army Bridge

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Research: Testing the Bridge

The Salvation Army Bridge is a leading addiction treatment provider. A review by Otago University in 2015 measured outcomes for 325 Bridge clients across a number of wellbeing markers—including physical health, employment, housing, and reduced criminality and substance use. The study identified that participation in the Bridge programme resulted in improved well-being outcomes for tāngata.

The study determined that the Bridge outcomes were ‘amongst the best in the world’, noting that a focus on spirituality was one of the important contributing factors to long-term recovery.


Testing the Bridge

'Testing the Bridge' was conducted by the Departments of Psychology and Psychological Medicine at the University of Otago and was completed in early 2015. The study includes a literature review of treatment models from around the world and tracked the progress and health/functional outcomes of 325 Bridge programme clients over the course of a year. Comparing the findings with outcomes from similar alcohol and other drug treatment programmes from around the world.


Findings: Treatment outcomes are among the best in the world 

  • The key elements of the Bridge programme reflect the use of evidence-based approaches and recommended best practices. 
  • Participants demonstrated a significant reduction in substance use frequency and severity (maintained at a three-month follow-up).
  • Treatment outcomes from the Bridge compare favourably with other programmes.
  • Participants had significant increases in spiritual beliefs, which were associated with decreased severity of alcohol and drug use. 
  • Each person’s addiction experience is embedded within their whole life story and, therefore, focusing on just the addiction is not likely to achieve the best possible outcome.

Read the full report.