Teaching medical students alcohol intervention skills: results of a controlled trial

Authors

  • R A Walsh,

    1. Discipline of Behavioural Science in Relation to Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Newcastle, New South Wales, 2308, Australia
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  • R W Sanson-Fisher,

    1. Discipline of Behavioural Science in Relation to Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Newcastle, New South Wales, 2308, Australia
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  • A Low,

    1. Discipline of Behavioural Science in Relation to Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Newcastle, New South Wales, 2308, Australia
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  • A M Roche

    1. Queensland Alcohol and Drug Research And Education Centre, University of Queensland, Edith Cavell Building, Royal Brisbane Hospital, Herston, Queensland, 4029, Australia
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Walsh Dr Hunter Centre for Health Advancement, Locked Bag 10, Wallsend, New South Wales, 2287, Australia

Abstract

Objective

 To assess the relative effectiveness of videotape feedback and lecture methods for teaching alcohol brief intervention skills.

Design

 In a controlled trial, two student blocks received a manual, lecture and demonstration about the principles and practice of brief alcohol intervention. In addition, experimental students made a 20-min videotape and participated in a 1·5-h small group feedback session. Prior to and after training, all students completed questionnaires and videotaped interviews with simulated patients.

Setting

 Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University of Newcastle, Australia.

Subjects

 Final-year medical students.

Results

 Levels of alcohol-related knowledge, attitudes and interactional skills as well as general interactional skills were significantly improved after teaching. Alcohol-related interactional skills that were unsatisfactory at pretest reached satisfactory standards at post-test. An intergroup comparison of the improvement between pre- and post-teaching scores indicated that there was no significant difference in the effectiveness of the two methods.

Conclusions

 Training can improve medical student performance in alcohol intervention. Further research is required to examine the relative effectiveness of different teaching methods.

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