The differential effect of a set of brief interventions on the functioning of a group of “early-stage” problem drinkers


Hunter Drug Advisory Service, 56 Stewart Avenue, Hamilton South, NSW 2302


Abstract: The present study evaluated the effectiveness of different treatment conditions on the functioning of a group of male problem drinkers (N = 96) presenting to a community agency for treatment. Clients were randomly assigned to one of three treatment conditions and assessed before treatment and again a minimum of twelve months after using a number of drinking and non-drinking-related measures of functioning. Corroborative information was obtained from a person nominated by each client. Contact was maintained with clients and their collaterals throughout the follow-up period. Follow-up assessment data were available for 80 (83%) clients; and collateral information for 84 (88%) clients. At follow-up, using self-report data, 38 clients (40% of initial sample) were classified as improved, 5 were abstinent and 33 non-problem drinkers. Analyses of variance and discriminant analyses were used to ascertain the effects of treatment on client status at follow-up. Treatment was not found to exert a differential effect on outcome. Significant improvements were found on numerous measures of functioning irrespective of treatment conditions. The limitations of the study particularly in reference to sample size and characteristics are discussed and recommendations are made concerning the importance of incorporating client follow-up into treatment regimens.