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Scand J Caring Sci. 2011 Jun;25(2):383-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6712.2010.00838.x. Epub 2010 Oct 12.

Identifying parents with risky alcohol consumption habits in a paediatric unit--are screening and brief intervention appropriate methods?

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Institute of Clinical Research, Research Unit of Clinical Nursing, the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.



There is no systematic identification of parents with excessive alcohol use who have a child admitted to hospital. Children in families with excessive alcohol issues form a high risk group as substantial alcohol consumption has a damaging influence on a child emotionally, cognitively, socially and physically. Alcohol consumption is a sensitive issue, and health staff needs knowledge, qualifications and adequate training in communicating with parents about this taboo.


• To identify specific patterns in subgroups of parents by comparing results from screening and demographic variables • To identify systematic patterns in staff members by demographic variables to decide whether these factors influence the screening results.


During 1 year, screening and brief intervention (SBI) was accomplished, including health staff conducting dialogues with parents of a hospitalized child using motivational interviewing (MI) and screening for risky alcohol behaviour by Cut down, Annoyance from others, feel Guilty, Early-morning Craving (CAGE)-C. Data were analysed by descriptive statistics, and relationships were tested with a statistical significance level of 0.05, using SPSS (version 16.0).


Motivational dialogues with 779 parents were conducted by 43 staff members, and 11% of the parents were screened positive for risky alcohol behaviour. Drinking alcohol 4 days a week or more and drinking alcohol outside mealtimes were main risk factors. Parents' gender was the strongest predictor of screening positive and OR was 6.8 for men (CI 4.03-11.74) compared to women, p<0.0001. An OR of 1.2 for parents' age (CI 1.02-1.42) indicates the risk of screening positive increases with age, p=0.027.


Brief intervention using CAGE-C and MI has proven successful in mapping parents' alcohol consumption patterns and in identifying parents with risky alcohol consumption habits. Health staff is able to manage health promotion and prevention when having the right competences and when being supervised.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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