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J Stud Alcohol. 2001 May;62(3):359-69.

Prospective matching of alcoholic clients to cognitive-behavioral or interactional group therapy.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington 06030-3944, USA.



In earlier work, client sociopathy and global psychopathology were effective variables for treatment matching: clients low on both sociopathy and severity of psychopathology were likely to benefit from interactional group therapy, whereas those scoring high on either of these dimensions benefited more from a coping skills intervention. The present study assessed whether outcomes improve further when clients are assigned to group treatments prospectively based on a matching strategy derived from the previous findings.


All participants (N = 250, 66% men) met criteria for alcohol dependence or abuse. About half were prospectively assigned to either cognitive-behavioral (CB) coping skills training or interactional therapy, those with higher levels of psychiatric severity or sociopathy were given CB and those who were low on both dimensions were given interactional therapy. The other half were randomly assigned to those treatments, replicating the procedure of the earlier study. Outcome data were collected at the conclusion of treatment and at 3-month intervals for 1 year following.


Prospective matching of clients to treatment did not produce superior drinking outcomes compared to random treatment assignment. Randomly assigned clients were more likely to be abstinent at the end of treatment, but this effect disappeared at later follow-ups. Prospectively matched clients had fewer negative consequences of drinking than did those assigned randomly (unmatched). Neither sociopathy nor psychiatric severity was particularly effective for matching.


The matching effects from our previous study were not replicated. Nevertheless, prospective matching did reduce the negative consequences of drinking, consistent with our previous results.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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