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Subst Abus. 2019 Nov 7:1-9. doi: 10.1080/08897077.2019.1686724. [Epub ahead of print]

Characteristics of women with alcohol use disorders who benefit from intensive motivational interviewing.

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Public Health Institute, Behavioral Health and Recovery Studies, Oakland, California, USA.
Alcohol Research Group, Emeryville, California, USA.


Background: Women with alcohol disorders have more severe problems related to their drinking than men. They have higher mortality from alcohol-related accidents and enter treatment with more serious medical, psychiatric, and social consequences. Objective: This study assessed the effects of Intensive Motivational Interviewing (IMI), a new, 9-session counseling intervention for women with drinking problems. Methods: A randomized clinical trial was conducted with 215 women. Most were white (83%), college educated (61%), and older (mean age 51). Half received IMI and half a standard single session of MI (SMI) along with an attention control (nutritional education). Results: Generalized estimating equations models showed women who were heavy drinkers at baseline in the IMI condition reduced heavy drinking more than those in the SMI condition at 2-, 6-, and 12-month follow-up. Analyses of disaggregated subgroups showed IMI was most effective for women with low psychiatric severity, more severe physical and impulse control consequences associated with drinking, and higher motivation. However, formal 3-way interaction models (condition by moderator by time) showed significant effects primarily at 2 months. Conclusions: Improvements associated with IMI were limited to heavy drinking and varied among subgroups of women. Studies of women with more diverse characteristics are needed.


Women; alcohol; intensive motivational interviewing; moderators; motiavional interviewing

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