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Brief interventions based on motivational interviewing typically incorporate feedback on the individual's risk and use level compared to the norm, but does this really help? A US college study found it did, the combination leading to greater drinking reductions than either on its own.
Combining findings from randomised trials confirmed that brief advice to risky drinking primary care patients can reduce drinking; now the issue is whether in normal practice those benefits will be realised on a grand enough scale to create public health gains.
US students who broke college drinking rules and were required to undertake an alcohol programme responded better to three hours of group motivational interviewing than six of alcohol education; enhanced confidence that they could resist risky drinking was the key. For colleges it offers an effective but economical response to problem drinkers.
This US study found that different types of heavy-drinking college students responded best to different types of brief intervention to promote moderation; a novel finding was that the thinkers among them were most affected by being led to reflect on how their drinking compared to that of the average student.
STUDY 2005 PDF file 113Kb
Lasting benefits nine years after a brief alcohol intervention
A unique study from Norway discerned lasting benefits from a brief alcohol intervention nine years after risky drinkers had been identified during mass screening for heart disease and other medical risk factors.
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