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Alcohol Treat Q. 2013;31(186):186-205.

Effectiveness of a Feedback-Based Brief Intervention to Reduce Alcohol Use in Community Substance Use Disorders.

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Hartford Hospital/Institute of Living, Center for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Hartford, Connecticut 06106.


Feedback brief interventions for alcohol use problems have been highly effective with undergraduate populations. However, there has been little research on the effectiveness of administering feedback alone to community treatment populations. The goal of the current study was to assess the effectiveness of a feedback brief intervention in a community treatment setting with patients characterized largely by dependence on alcohol and drugs, ethnic diversity, and low socioeconomic status. It was hypothesized that pre-treatment brief individualized feedback would reduce alcohol consumption and increase participation in subsequent treatment for a substance use disorder (SUD). Participants were recruited from a public hospital's SUD clinic. After the intake but prior to entry into the treatment as usual, 121 participants were randomized to receive personalized feedback or a condition without feedback. Eighty-seven participants completed post-intervention follow-up interviews and were included in the final analyses. Repeated measures ANOVAs and MANCOVAs were used to examine variables obtained from the Addiction Severity Index (ASI; McLellan et al., 1992) of drinking quantity and frequency, and motivation for treatment. Results indicated that personalized feedback delivered no benefit beyond that of pre-treatment assessment procedures (phone screening and intake interview) alone. Intervention conditions did not differ on other outcomes at follow-up, including days of heavy drinking, motivation for treatment, or drug use frequency. Therefore, feedback-based brief interventions may be not helpful in reducing the drinking frequency and intensity of individuals presenting to community-based substance use treatment.


brief intervention; community care; feedback; substance use

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