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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Brown: Moderators of Brief Motivation-enhancing Treatments for Alcohol-Positive Adolescents Presenting to the Emergency Department

Considering the extremely high rates of alcohol-related problems faced in the emergency department setting, this environment represents a unique opportunity to screen adolescents for alcohol problems and offer a brief intervention.

Becker, Sara
[Photo: Dr. Sara J. Becker]

The goal of this study, by Dr. Sara J. Becker, an assistant professor in the department of behavioral and social sciences, was to identify predictors and moderators of high volume drinking in a 2011 randomized control trial which compared the effectiveness of two brief motivation-enhancing therapy models among alcohol-positive adolescents in an urban emergency department: Adolescent motivation-enhancing therapy versus motivation-enhancing therapy plus family check-up, a parent motivation-enhancement therapy model.

Candidates of moderation or prediction included variables across three domains, including demographic characteristics, psychological factors, and socio-contextual factors. Dr. Becker and her colleagues found that age was a significant predictor of high volume drinking, where older adolescents had significantly worse drinking outcomes than younger adolescents regardless of study group. Furthermore, the results indicate that adolescents whose parents screened positive for problematic alcohol use at baseline had significantly worse drinking outcomes in the motivation-enhancement therapy plus family check-up condition compared to the motivation-enhancement therapy only condition.

The findings of this study suggest that age and the alcohol use of parents are important considerations when implementing a motivation-enhancement therapy intervention for adolescents in the emergency room setting.

This study was published in Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Volume 69.

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