Drinking Trajectories Following an Initial Lapse

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Relapse following alcohol treatment is a major problem for individuals who are alcohol dependent, yet little is known about the course of drinking after the initial lapse. In the current study, discrete-time survival analysis and latent growth mixture modeling were used to evaluate the time to first lapse and the trajectories of postlapse drinking in a sample of 563 individuals who received community alcohol treatment. Results showed a decreasing risk of lapsing over time. After the initial lapse, 3 trajectory subgroups provided a parsimonious representation of the heterogeneity in postlapse drinking frequency and quantity, with the majority of individuals reporting light, infrequent drinking. Covariate analyses incorporating demographics, distal risk factors, time to first lapse, and coping behavior as predictors of time to lapse and postlapse drinking trajectories indicated that alcohol dependence and coping behavior were the strongest predictors of lapsing and postlapse drinking behavior.

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