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The effect of brief interventions on alcohol consumption among heavy drinkers in a general hospital setting

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(i) To evaluate the effect of receiving one of two brief interventions in reducing alcohol consumption among general hospital patients compared with usual care. (ii) To assess whether a brief intervention of self-efficacy enhancement was superior to a self-help booklet in reducing alcohol consumption. Design 

A three-arm cluster randomized controlled trial. Setting 

Seven general medical, six general surgical, one dermatology and two otolaryngology wards of a large teaching hospital covering a large urban and rural area. Participants 

A total of 215 of 789 in-patients aged 18–75 years, who screened positive for alcohol consumption in excess of national recommended limits according to a 7-day retrospective drinking diary. Interventions 

Participants were allocated to receive one of three interventions: (i) face-to-face self-efficacy enhancement; (ii) a self-help booklet; or (iii) usual care. Measurements 

The primary outcome measure was change in reported alcohol consumption at 6-month follow-up as measured by a 7-day retrospective drinking diary. Secondary outcomes were change in: number of alcohol drinking days in last week; the maximum units of alcohol consumed on any one day in last week; and Drinking Refusal Self-efficacy Expectancy Questionnaire score. Findings 

Compared to the usual care group the self-efficacy enhancement group (−10.1 units 95% CI −16.1 to −4.1) and the self-help booklet group (−10.0 units 95% CI −16.0 to −3.9) had greater reductions in self-reported weekly alcohol consumption. There was no evidence that self-efficacy enhancement was superior to the self-help booklet (P = 0.96). Conclusions 

Brief interventions delivered in hospital offer simple means of helping heavy drinkers to reduce their alcohol consumption.
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Keywords: Alcohol; brief interventions; heavy drinking; hospital; self-efficacy; self-help booklet

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Nursing, Midwifery and Community Health, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK, 2: School of Nursing, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK, 3: School of Social & Health Sciences, University of Abertay, Dundee, UK and 4: School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK

Publication date: 01 November 2007

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