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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2015 Jan;39(1):126-35. doi: 10.1111/acer.12607.

Preventing alcohol-exposed pregnancy among an American Indian/Alaska Native population: effect of a screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment intervention.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, California; Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, California.



Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are the result of alcohol-exposed pregnancies (AEP) and believed to be the leading known cause of developmental disabilities in the United States. Our objective was to determine whether a culturally targeted Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) intervention may reduce risky drinking and vulnerability to AEP among American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) women in Southern California.


Southern California AIAN women of childbearing age who completed a survey including questions regarding alcohol consumption and contraceptive use were randomized into intervention or treatment as usual groups where the former group completed an online SBIRT intervention, and were followed up at 1, 3, and 6 months postintervention.


Of 263 women recruited and 247 with follow-up data, one-third were at high risk of having an AEP at baseline. Both treatment groups decreased self-reported risky drinking behavior (drinks per week, p < 0.001; frequency of heavy episodic [binge] drinking episodes per 2 weeks, p = 0.017 and risk of AEP p < 0.001 at 6 months postintervention) in the follow-up period. There was no difference between treatment groups. Baseline factors associated with decreased risk of an AEP at follow-up included the perception that other women in their peer group consumed a greater number of drinks per week, having reported a greater number of binge episodes in the past 2 weeks, and depression/impaired functionality.


Participation in assessment alone may have been sufficient to encourage behavioral change even without the web-based SBIRT intervention. Randomization to the SBIRT did not result in a significantly different change in risky drinking behaviors. The importance of perception of other women's drinking and one's own depression/functionality may have implications for future interventions.


Alcohol; Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders; Native American Women; Prevention Research; Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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