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BMC Psychiatry. 2019 Jul 8;19(1):213. doi: 10.1186/s12888-019-2199-z.

A pragmatic randomised trial of two counselling models at the Swedish national alcohol helpline.

Author information

1
Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77, Stockholm, Sweden. eleonor.safsten@ki.se.
2
Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77, Stockholm, Sweden.
3
Centre for Epidemiology and Community Medicine, Stockholm Health Care District, Stockholm County Council, 104 31, Stockholm, Sweden.
4
Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77, Stockholm, Sweden.
5
The Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and Other Drugs (CAN), 107 25, Stockholm, Sweden.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Alcohol telephone helplines targeting alcohol consumers in the general population can extend the reach of brief interventions while preserving in-person counselling. So far, studies of client outcomes in the setting of alcohol helplines are scarce. This study aims to compare the 6-months alcohol-related outcomes of two counselling models delivered at the Swedish National Alcohol Helpline.

METHODS:

A pragmatic randomised trial was set up at the Swedish National Alcohol Helpline. First-time callers with current hazardous or harmful alcohol use who contacted the helpline, from May 2015 to December 2017, were invited to participate. Clients were allocated with 1:1 ratio to two groups: (1) brief, structured intervention (n = 128), including self-help material and one counsellor-initiated call, and (2) usual care (n = 133), i.e. multiple-session counselling using Motivational Interviewing (MI). The primary outcome was a downward change in AUDIT risk-zone between baseline and 6-months follow-up. The analysis followed an intention-to-treat approach.

RESULTS:

Recruitment ended in December 2017. At 6-months follow-up, 70% of the enrolled participants had data on the outcome. In the brief, structured intervention (n = 107) 68% changed to a lower risk-level, compared to 61% in the usual care group (n = 117), yielding a risk ratio (RR) of 1.12 (95% CI 0.93 to 1.37) and risk difference of 0.08 (95% CI -0.05 to 0.20). The total AUDIT score and the scores from the AUDIT consumption questions (AUDIT-C) did not reveal any between-group differences in the mean change at follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS:

The counselling at the Swedish National Alcohol Helpline was followed by a significant decrease in alcohol use among clients, without clear superiority for either counselling model.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

This trial was retrospectively registered with ISRCNT.com (ID: ISRCTN13160878 ) 18/01/2016.

KEYWORDS:

Brief intervention; Counselling; Drinking; Harmful alcohol use; Hazardous alcohol use; Randomised controlled trial; Telephone helpline

PMID:
31286906
DOI:
10.1186/s12888-019-2199-z
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