Published: 01 August 2019

Treatment services for people with co-occurring substance use and mental health problems. A rapid realist synthesis

The scope of this rapid realist review was developed through a high-level review of relevant literature and early engagement of knowledge users in Ireland. The Health Research Board (HRB) proposed three research questions to guide the rapid realist review. Keeping in line with the realist approach, the research team carried out a process to refine these questions to ensure that they accurately reflected the needs of the knowledge users, including providers and users of dual diagnosis services in Ireland.

Refined research question 1: What interventions improve treatment and personal functioning outcomes for people with co-occurring substance use and mental health problems and in what circumstances do they work?

» Refined research question 2: What aspects of integrative programmes for the treatment of co-occurring substance use and mental health problems trigger positive system outcomes and in what circumstances do these outcomes occur?

» Refined research question 3: What existing models of care for adults with co-occurring substance use and mental health problems lead to positive treatment outcomes and successful service integration?

Co-production guided the process at the first meetings in Ireland in November 2017. Detailed notes were taken in an effort to identify and draft theory statements that would guide the realist review. Notes were organised based on each of the discussions and activities facilitated with the groups. The research team carried out thematic analysis of this initial dataset of notes to generate 10 theory statements that ultimately guided the literature search, data extraction, and analysis processes. These 10 theory statements were brought back to the knowledge users for revision, validation, and finalisation during the second in-country meetings.


  • Karen Minyard
  • Brigitte Manteuffel
  • Collen M Smith
  • Brandon K Atell
  • Glenn Landers
  • Mariah Schlanger
  • Emily Dore

Publication (PDF, 634 KB)

Publication (PDF, 634 KB)

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