The TreAdd Research Group, composed of researchers from diverse multidisciplinary backgrounds, focuses on researching addictions, their treatment, and the evaluation of their effectiveness.


Despite the prominence of substance abuse and other dependencies among the problems of social work clients, very little social work research in Finland has addressed them. Nevertheless, research on substance use and addictions at Tampere University has been conducted ever since the early 1990s. The research themes almost without exception involve treatment for and recovery from substance abuse problems in a concrete way. Examples include the effect of alcoholics’ cognitive difficulties on adopting treatment content, various paths to recovery from alcohol problems and the significance of clients’ readiness to change for continuity of treatment. Interpersonal functioning of workers in substance abuse treatment and the working alliance between client and worker are likewise objects of research.

The TreAdd Research Group adheres to this research tradition and prioritizes topical phenomena in addictions and their treatment. Among others, our current and future research interests include: services for youth with problematic substance use, the effectiveness of client segmentation for clients using substances, psycho-social work in substance abuse treatment, marketization of services, recovery from and social consequences of gambling and also research on variation between therapists, practices of the social care legislation in substance abuse services. (See also Projects.)

The research group operates within the focal areas of Tampere University, as well as the unit of welfare sciences and the degree programme in social work. Research at Tampere University focuses strongly on society and health and the groups’s research accords these a prominent role. In efficacy research the third focal area, technology, is also important – from both the perspective of treatment methods and as a research tool.


Despite best efforts, making substance abuse treatment more effective has been challenging and improving treatment effectiveness has called for new strategies. The objective of the group is to harness effectiveness research to generate knowledge for the improvement of treatment and this also has practical implications for the training of substance abuse workers.


The most recent projects concentrate on client hopefulness as well as self-efficacy and treatment expectations and the effect of these on treatment effectiveness, and also on the right of people with substance abuse problems to receive the treatment they need within the service system.

The research objects are either clients with substance use problems, workers, treatment processes or various combinations of these. Research on treatment effectiveness frequently necessitates lengthy follow-up research designs, and these are typical of the research group. Methodologically the group utilises both quantitative and qualitative research approaches and its methodological philosophy could be called eclectic, with various methods utilised within the same individual project. Research on treatment effectiveness with quantitative or mixed methods has an established, multidisciplinary status and in the national context of social work such research is unique and distinctive to our research group.

Co-operation partners

We constantly engage in research collaboration with various actors in the field of addiction treatment and with other researchers, frequently with a multi-disciplinary approach. On the degree programme in social work points of interface can be seen especially with the Margi research group (social work) led by Professor Kirsi Juhila, and with Professor Atte Oksanen’s research group (social psychology) for research on dependencies.