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Acad Emerg Med. 1995 Sep;2(9):817-25.

Injury as a motivator to reduce drinking.

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Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Providence, RI 02912, USA.



To identify predictors of readiness to change drinking behavior by minor-injury patients who had positive saliva alcohol tests (SATs) in the ED. To develop and test a model intended to be prognostic of readiness to change, which included predispositional and injury-event-related variables.


An on-site survey was conducted of minor-injury ED patients sampled consecutively during predesignated periods. Patients were identified as SAT-positive during their screening evaluations. After giving their consent, they were administered a self-report battery that assessed predispositional and injury-event-related variables as well as readiness to change their drinking. Predictors of readiness to change drinking were tested with regression analyses.


Twenty-four SAT-positive patients participated; there were 18 men and six women (average age 34 years). Preinjury predispositional variables were by themselves unrelated to the patient's readiness to change while in the ED. Aversiveness of the injury and perception of degree of alcohol involvement were injury-event-related variables predictive of readiness to change (p < 0.008). Negative consequences attributed to drinking prior to the injury event strengthened the association of injury aversiveness and alcohol involvement with readiness to change (p < 0.0075).


Interventions to decrease drinking in this population should focus on increasing patient awareness of the association between drinking, injuries, and other alcohol-related negative consequences.

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