Adding Tools to the Toolbox: The Role of Coping Repertoire in Alcohol Treatment

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Objective: Few studies have examined distinct patterns (i.e., repertoires) of coping skills among alcohol use disorder (AUD) populations. We examined patterns of coping among individuals following AUD treatment and were particularly interested in whether the broadness of one’s repertoire, or the degree of utilizing a broad range of different coping skills, was related to alcohol treatment outcomes. Method: We conducted secondary analyses of data from the COMBINE Study (N = 1,101; mean age = 45.14, SD = 10.19, 68.8% male; 21.3% non-White) and Project MATCH (N = 1,587; mean age = 40.25, SD = 11.07, 75.7% male; 19.7% non-White). Finite mixture models were conducted to examine patterns of alcohol-specific coping, as measured by the Processes of Change Questionnaire (Prochaska, Velicer, DiClemente, & Fava, 1988). Results: Three latent coping repertoire classes provided the best fit to the data in both studies: (a) a broad class that had a broad range of different skills that were consistently used, (b) a moderate class that had a moderate range of different skills that were consistently used, and (c) a narrow class that had a limited range of different skills that were consistently used. In both studies the broad repertoire class generally had the best treatment outcomes. Receiving the combined behavioral intervention in COMBINE predicted a greater likelihood of expected classification in the broad class. Conclusion: Having a broad coping repertoire was associated with better alcohol treatment outcomes and may be an important target in AUD treatment. Further research examining distinct patterns or repertoires of coping among AUD populations is warranted.

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