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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2011 Jul;35(7):1331-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2011.01469.x. Epub 2011 Mar 15.

Web-based assessment and brief intervention for alcohol use in women of childbearing potential: a report of the primary findings.

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Domestic Division/Underage Drinking Prevention Education Initiatives, University Research Company LLC, 604 North Carolina Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20003, USA.



There is a need for more effective assessment and primary prevention programs aimed at accurately measuring and reducing alcohol consumption among women before conception in underserved, high-risk populations. Health information technology may serve this purpose; however, the effectiveness of such tools within this population is not known.


We conducted a small-scale randomized controlled trial to test the effectiveness of an adapted Web-based alcohol assessment and intervention tool among low-income, nonpregnant women of reproductive age who were receiving Women Infant and Children (WIC) services in San Diego County and who reported currently drinking at a moderate risk level. A total of 150 risky drinking participants completed a Web-based assessment and were randomly assigned to either receive a personalized feedback intervention or general health information about alcohol consumption and fetal alcohol syndrome. Follow-up assessments on reported alcohol consumption were conducted via telephone at 1- and 2-months postbaseline. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 44 and were predominately Hispanic/Latina (44%).


At baseline, all respondents reported consuming ≥3 standard drinks on ≥1 occasion in the previous month. Outcome data were available for 131 participants. The main outcome measure was reduction in the number of risky drinking occasions, which did not differ significantly between treatment conditions (odds ratio 1.200, 95% CI 0.567 to 2.539, p=0.634). Over 70% of the participants, however, reported a reduction in risky drinking occasions regardless of treatment condition (control 43/63, 68%; experimental 49/68, 72%).


The results of this study demonstrate that web-based assessment of alcohol consumption among low-income women of reproductive age, as represented by WIC clients, is feasible and acceptable. The findings also suggest that detailed and interactive assessments of alcohol consumption may be sufficient for the reduction of risky drinking within this population without personalized feedback.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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