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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2010 Mar 1;34(3):499-508. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2009.01115.x. Epub 2009 Dec 17.

Feasibility of using interactive voice response to monitor daily drinking, moods, and relationship processes on a daily basis in alcoholic couples.

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Department of Psychiatry, Addiction Research Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2700, USA.



Daily process research on alcohol involvement has used paper-and-pencil and electronic data collection methods, but no studies have yet tested the feasibility of using Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology to monitor drinking, affective, and social interactional processes among alcoholic (ALC) couples. This study tested the feasibility of using IVR with n = 54 ALC couples.


Participants were n = 54 couples (probands who met criteria for a past 1-year alcohol use disorder and their partners) recruited from a substance abuse treatment center and the local community. Probands and their partners reported on their daily drinking, marital interactions, and moods once a day for 14 consecutive days using an IVR system. Probands and partners were on average 43.4 and 43.0 years old, respectively.


Participants completed a total of 1,418 out of a possible 1,512 diary days for an overall compliance rate of 93.8%. ALC probands completed an average of 13.3 (1.0) diary reports, and partners completed an average of 13.2 (1.0) diary reports. On average, daily IVR calls lasted 7.8 (3.0) minutes for ALC probands and 7.6 (3.0) minutes for partners. Compliance was significantly lower on weekend days (Fridays and Saturdays) compared to other weekdays for probands and spouses. Although today's intoxication predicted tomorrow's noncompliance for probands but not spouses, the strongest predictor of proband's compliance was their spouse's compliance. Daily anxiety and marital conflict were associated with daily IVR nonresponse, which triggered automated reminder calls.


Findings supported that IVR is a useful method for collecting daily drinking, mood, and relationship process data from alcoholic couples. Probands' compliance is strongly associated with their partners' compliance, and automated IVR calls may facilitate compliance on high anxiety, high conflict days.

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