A test of the matching hypothesis: alcohol dependence, intensity of treatment, and 12-month outcome



The “matching hypothesis”—the concept that treatment will be improved if matched to individual needs or characteristics—has, over recent years, attracted attention, and some research to test its validity has been conducted. These studies are briefly reviewed and an analysis then reported which focuses on exploration of the possible interaction between treatment intensity, patient characteristics with particular reference to degree of dependence on alcohol, and 12-month treatment outcome. The data derive from a controlled trial in which patients were randomized between “Treatment” and “Advice”. No significant interactions of the kind postulated were identified and, at least for this data set, the matching hypothesis is not confirmed. Possible interpretations of these findings are discussed.