Nick Heather PhD, currently Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Centre For Alcohol & Drug Studies, Northern Regional Alcohol & Drug Service, Plummer Court, Carliol Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE16UR, UK
Effects of brief counselling among male heavy drinkers identified on general hospital wards*
Article first published online: 29 MAY 2009
1996 Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs
Drug and Alcohol Review
Volume 15, Issue 1, pages 29–38, March 1996
How to Cite
HEATHER, N., ROLLNICK, S., BELL, A. and RICHMOND, R. (1996), Effects of brief counselling among male heavy drinkers identified on general hospital wards. Drug and Alcohol Review, 15: 29–38. doi: 10.1080/09595239600185641
This research was carried out while the first author was Director, the second author Visiting Research Fellow and the third author Research Nurse at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales. The research described in this article formed part of the second author's PhD thesis at the University of Wales. Some of the data were presented at the Sixth International Conference on Treatment of Addictive Behaviors, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, 10–14 January 1993.
- Issue published online: 29 MAY 2009
- Article first published online: 29 MAY 2009
- Received 21 April 1994; Revised 28 June 1995; Accepted 19 October 1995.
- alcohol consumption;
- brief counselling;
- male drinkers
Although the prevalence of heavy alcohol consumption among patients of general hospitals is well documented, no study has yet reported an effect of counselling on the ward in reducing the level of consumption among such patients after discharge. This study was designed to evaluate brief counselling to reduce alcohol consumption among male heavy drinkers identified on general hospital wards. Male patients were screened on wards of four teaching hospitals in Sydney, Australia. Identified heavy drinkers (n=174) showing predominantly low levels of alcohol dependence were allocated to one of two forms of brief counselling (skills-based counselling or brief motivational interviewing) or to a non-intervention control group. Blind follow-up for 123 patients (71%) was carried out approximately 6 months after discharge from hospital and self-reports of alcohol consumption were compared with collateral sources of information. Patients who received counselling showed a significantly greater mean reduction in a quantity-frequency measure of weekly alcohol consumption than controls but there were no significant differences in reduced consumption between the two intervention groups. However, patients who were deemed “not ready to change” showed greater reductions if they had received brief motivational interviewing than if they had received skills-based counselling. The implications of these findings for counselling male in-patients to reduce alcohol consumption are discussed.