Brief patient-centered clinician-delivered counseling for high-risk drinking: 4-year results

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Alcohol Drinking; Directive Counseling; Female; Follow-Up Studies; Humans; Male; *Patient-Centered Care; Psychotherapy; Risk-Taking; Treatment Outcome


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Women's Studies


PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to determine the effect at 48 months of a screening and brief patient-centered physician- and nurse practitioner-delivered intervention implemented during a routine primary care visit on the reduction of alcohol consumption by high-risk drinkers.

METHODS: Participants seen in primary care practices previously randomized to special intervention (SI) or usual care (UC) were reconsented for long-term follow-up. From the initial cohort, 63% reconsented to participate and provided follow-up at 48 months between November 1996 and March 2002. The data for this paper were analyzed in June 2004.

RESULTS: At 48 months, SI participants maintained significant reductions in drinks per week seen at 6 and 12 months. However, there were no longer significant differences in drinks per week, binges per month, percentage of low-risk drinking, relapse rates, and new quits between the SI and UC groups at 48 months that had been seen at earlier follow-up. There was a significant effect of prior low-risk drinking status at 12 months; those who were low-risk drinkers at 12 months were more likely to stay low-risk drinkers at 48 months regardless of treatment group.

CONCLUSIONS: With a single brief intervention, SI participants had significantly greater reductions in their drinking levels at 6 and 12 months compared to UC participants and maintained the lower-risk levels at 48 months resulting in a reduction in health risk exposure time. However, the significant group differences in treatment effect seen in earlier follow-ups were not maintained.

DOI of Published Version



Ann Behav Med. 2009 Jun;37(3):335-42. Epub 2009 Aug 26. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Annals of behavioral medicine : a publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID