Alcoholics Anonymous and long term matching effects.

AIMS: (1) To examine the matching hypothesis that Twelve Step Facilitation Therapy (TSF) is more effective than Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) for alcohol-dependent clients with networks highly supportive of drinking 3 years following treatment; (2) to test a causal chain providing the rationale for this effect. DESIGN: Outpatients were re-interviewed 3 years following treatment. ANCOVAs tested the matching hypothesis. SETTING: Outpatients from five clinical research units distributed across the United States. Participants: Eight hundred and six alcohol-dependent clients. INTERVENTION: Clients were randomly assigned to one of three 12-week, manually-guided, individual treatments: TSF, MET or Cognitive Behavioral Coping Skills Therapy (CBT). MEASUREMENTS: Network support for drinking prior to treatment, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) involvement during and following treatment, percentage of days abstinent and drinks per drinking day during months 37-39.

FINDINGS:

  • The a priori matching hypothesis that TSF is more effective than MET for clients with networks supportive of drinking was supported at the 3 year follow-up;
  • AA involvement was a partial mediator of this effect; clients with networks supportive of drinking assigned to TSF were more likely to be involved in AA;
  • AA involvement was associated with better 3-year drinking outcomes for such clients.

CONCLUSIONS:

  • in the long-term TSF may be the treatment of choice for alcohol-dependent clients with networks supportive of drinking;
  • involvement in AA should be given special consideration for clients with networks supportive of drinking, irrespective of the therapy they will receive.

Research; Longabaugh R, Wirtz PW, Zweben A, Stout RL. Network support for drinking, Alcoholics Anonymous and long-term matching effects.Addiction. 1998 Sep;93(9):1313-33.


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