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Abstract

One hundred and seven problem drinkers responding to a newspaper advertisement were randomly assigned to groups receiving: (1) a general advice and information booklet; (2) a behaviourally-based self-help manual; (3) in addition to the manual, an opportunity to make progress reports to a telephone answering service; and (4) in addition to the manual, an opportunity to make telephoned progress reports to an interviewer. Eighty-seven (81.3%) respondents were successfully followed-up and collateral information was available for 54 (61.1%) of these. Results showed a higher proportion drinking above recommended limits at six months follow-up in the control group (78%) than in the groups receiving the manual (53%). There were no significant differences due to presence or type of telephone contact and poor use was made of the opportunity for telephone contact. Findings justify the widespread promotion of self-help materials as a means of assisting the natural recovery process among problem drinkers.