Mailed treatment to augment primary care for alcohol disorders : a randomised controlled trial

Kavanagh, David & Connolly, Jennifer M. (2009) Mailed treatment to augment primary care for alcohol disorders : a randomised controlled trial. Drug and Alcohol Review, 28(1), pp. 73-80.

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Introduction and Aims: Remote delivery of interventions is needed to address large numbers of people with alcohol use disorders who are spread over large areas. Previous correspondence trials typically examined its effects as stand-alone treatment. This study aimed to test whether adding postal treatment to general practitioner (GP) support would lower alcohol use more than GP intervention alone.

Design and Methods: A single-blind, randomised controlled trial with a crossover design was conducted over 12 months on 204 people with alcohol use disorders. Participants in an immediate correspondence condition received treatment over the first 3 months; those receiving delayed treatment received it in months 3–6.

Results: Few participants were referred from GPs, and little intervention was offered by them. At 3 months, 78% of participants remained in the study. Those in immediate treatment showed greater reductions in alcohol per week, drinking days, anxiety, depression and distress than those in the delayed condition. However, post-treatment and follow-up outcomes still showed elevated alcohol use, depression, anxiety and distress. Greater baseline anxiety predicted better alcohol outcomes, although more mental distress at baseline predicted dropout.

Discussion and Conclusions: The study gave consistent results with those from previous research on correspondence treatments, and showed that high levels of participant engagement over 3 months can be obtained. Substantial reductions in alcohol use are seen, with indications that they are well maintained. However, many participants continue to show high-risk alcohol use and psychological distress.

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6 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 28573
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Alcohol dependence, Alcohol abuse, Bibliotherapy, Treatment, Clinical trial
DOI: 10.1111/j.1465-3362.2008.00011.x
ISSN: 0959-5236
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > OTHER MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (119900)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs
Deposited On: 13 Nov 2009 00:56
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 14:07

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