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Addiction. 1996 Mar;91(3):345-55.

Moderating drinking by correspondence: an evaluation of a new method of intervention.

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Centre for Drug and Alcohol Studies, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Australia.


Recognizing the need to offer alternative methods of brief interventions, this study developed correspondence treatments for low-dependent problem drinkers and evaluated their impact. One hundred and twenty-one problem drinkers were recruited by media advertisements and were randomly allocated to a full cognitive-behavioural treatment programme (CBT) or to a minimal intervention condition (MI) that gave information regarding alcohol misuse and instructions to record drinking++. As predicted, CBT was more effective than MI in reducing alcohol consumption over the 4-month controlled trial period. CBT produced a 50% fall in consumption, bringing the average intake of subjects within recommended maximum levels. Treatment gains at 6 months were well maintained to 12 months. High levels of consumer satisfaction, a high representation of women and a substantial participation from isolated rural areas attested to the feasibility of the correspondence programme as an alternative treatment. However, some drinking occasions still involved high intake for a significant subgroup of subjects, and this issue will be addressed in future programmes. The results supported the use of correspondence delivery as a means of promoting early engagement and equity of access between city and country areas.

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