Ascertaining the Relationships Between the Trajectories of Specific Categories of Alcohol-Related Negative Consequences and Subsequent Drinking Behavior

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The first year following alcohol use disorder (AUD) treatment has been identified as a period of high risk for relapse and an important timeframe for enquiry regarding alcohol-related behavior change and its maintenance. In addition, at least among individuals with AUD, alcohol use and negative consequences have been shown to be reciprocally related. A commonly used measure of alcohol-related negative consequences is the Drinker Inventory of Consequences (DrInC). Investigations of specific categories of alcohol-related negative consequences and their trajectories, however, have been lacking. Given this background, the purpose of this study was to: follow the course of the 5 DrInC categories of alcohol-related negative consequences over the first year post-AUD treatment initiation; investigate whether these trajectories varied by gender, age, and/or treatment condition; examine the relationships between these trajectories and subsequent drinking behavior; and investigate whether these relationships varied by gender, age, and/or treatment condition, via secondary data analyses. Data from the outpatient arm of Project MATCH (n = 952) were utilized. Study results revealed that the trajectory of each DrInC category was indicative of improved alcohol-related problems across the first year posttreatment initiation. Specific DrInC categories varied as a function of gender, age, and treatment condition, and the trajectories were predictive of subsequent drinking behavior. Specifically, higher intercepts during the treatment period were associated with poorer drinking behavior 1 year later. Alternatively, steeper negative slopes were associated with improved drinking behavior. Some of these relationships were modified by gender, age, and treatment condition. It was concluded that assessing alcohol-related negative consequences during the first year posttreatment initiation period has clinical utility.

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