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Ultra-brief intervention for problem drinkers: results from a randomized controlled trial.

Cunningham JA, Neighbors C, Wild C, Humphreys K. Ultra-brief intervention for problem drinkers: results from a randomized controlled trial. PLoS ONE. 2013 Apr 5; 7(10):e48003.

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: There are a number of evidence-based, in-person clinical inteventions for problem drinkers, but most problem drinkers will never seek such treatments. Reaching the population of non-treatment seeking problem drinkers will require a different approach. Accordingly, this randomized clinical trial evaluated an intervention that has been validated in clinical settings and then modified into an ultra-brief format suitable for use as an indicated public health intervention (i.e., targeting the population of non-treatment seeking problem drinkers). METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Problem drinkers (N? = 1767) completed a baseline population telephone survey and then were randomized to one of three conditions - a personalized feedback pamphlet condition, a control pamphlet condition, or a no intervention control condition. In the week after the baseline survey, households in the two pamphlet conditions were sent their respective interventions by postal mail addressed to ''Check Your Drinking.'' Changes in drinking were assessed post intervention at three-month and six-month follow-ups. The follow-up rate was 86% at three-months and 76% at six-months. There was a small effect (p? = .04) in one of three outcome variables (reduction in AUDIT-C, a composite measure of quantity and frequency of drinking) observed for the personalized feedback pamphlet compared to the no intervention control. No significant differences (p > .05) between groups were observed for the other two outcome variables - number of drinks consumed in the past seven days and highest number of drinks on one occasion. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Based on the results of this study, we tentatively conclude that a brief intervention, modified to an ultra-brief, public health format can have a meaningful impact. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00688584.





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