Secondary Prevention of Alcohol Problems in Rural Areas Using a Bibliotherapy-Based Approach

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This study investigated the relative effects of 3 12-week secondary prevention interventions for problem drinking men and women in rural counties in New York State. The participants were 111 self-referred men and women without severe dependence on alcohol who nevertheless reported heavy drinking and a desire to reduce their alcohol consumption. They were assigned randomly to 1 of 3 12-week interventions focused on reducing alcohol intake: bibliotherapy (a self-directed manual) alone, bibliotherapy with 1 telephone-administered motivational interview, or bibliotherapy with 1 telephone-administered motivational interview and 6 biweekly telephone therapy sessions. Results showed that, across conditions, participants significantly increased their abstinent and light drinking days and significantly decreased their heavy drinking days over the course of treatment and a 12-month follow-up period. In addition, participants reported moderate reductions in alcohol consequences and increases in confidence not to drink heavily across a variety of situations from pre- to posttreatment, with these changes remaining stable across the course of the follow-up. Use of the drinking reduction strategies presented in the self-directed manual also remained stable from posttreatment to the 12-month follow-up. These results provide support for consideration of bibliotherapy for rural problem drinkers who are not severely dependent on alcohol, with or without the addition of telephone contacts.

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