Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Marc Diener, PhD

Second Advisor

Eva Feindler, PhD

Third Advisor

Tamar Kraft, PhD


Millions of people worldwide use and misuse psychoactive and alcoholic substances, which can cause a plethora of negative outcomes (WHO, 2018). A handful of studies have researched the efficacy of psychodynamic interventions in randomized clinical trials (RCTs) for individuals with substance use problems, with most only examining treatment for specific substances (Crits-Christoph et al.; Imel et al., 2008). These studies are thus limited by their narrow focus on specific substances, and their (between-group comparison) findings have not always been consistent. The present study aims to fill several gaps in the literature, in part by broadening the types of eligible outcome studies for inclusion in a meta-analysis. More specifically, studies do not have to use an RCT design for inclusion, as studies that examine only pre-post changes in psychodynamic psychotherapy (PDT) are also eligible. Consistent with this broader focus, the research question addresses within-study change rather than between-groups comparisons. In addition, potential moderator variables were coded and included in specific data analyses to determine the degree to which they predict change in patients with substance use problems who received PDT. The results of this meta-analysis indicated a statistically significant overall effect size of 0.44 and supported the primary hypothesis that PDT is an effective treatment for substance use problems. However, moderator analyses were not statistically significant, indicating that the moderator variables of age and adjunctive treatment did not influence overall treatment outcomes in any meaningful way. All publication bias analyses were not statistically significant, suggesting it is unlikely that issues of publication bias impacted study results.