Prospective Changes in Alcohol Use Among Hazardous Drinkers in the Absence of Treatment

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Abstract

Gaining a better understanding of the natural course of hazardous alcohol consumption could inform the development of brief interventions to encourage self-change. In the current study, hazardous drinkers (based on Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test score) were recruited using advertisements to participate in a 2-year multiwave prospective study. Participants (n = 206) provided self-reports every six months during the study, including reports of daily alcohol consumption. The current investigation focuses on self-initiated change in participants' frequency of heavy drinking days (i.e., ≥ 5/4 drinks per day for men/women), as predicted by a number of demographic (e.g., age) and psychosocial (e.g., guilt-proneness) variables. Latent growth curve models of the change in percent heavy drinking days over the 2-year period provided an excellent fit to the observed data and indicated a significant decline in percent heavy drinking days over time. Reductions in heavy drinking frequency were predicted by younger age and higher guilt-proneness. The identification of these predictors of reductions in heavy drinking frequency provides information to guide future work investigating self-change among hazardous drinkers.

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