The comparison of participant characteristics of those choosing abstinence or non-abstinence as a drinking goal
Richambault, Courtney A.
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PURPOSE: Previous studies have established an association between pre-treatment drinking goals (abstinence vs. non-abstinence) and alcohol treatment outcome. The purpose of this study is to better understand that characteristics of individuals who choose abstinence compared to non-abstinence as a drinking goal prior to treatment. This study explores the characteristics as predictor variables of drinking goal choice prior to entering a Phase II research study in Boston, Massachusetts. METHODS: The participant population consisted ot individuals who called about entry into a Phase II alcohol dependence research study and completes a telephone screening questionnaire (n=608). Desired drinking goal was measured in the telephone screening form and categorized as either abstinence (n=206) or non-abstinence (n=308). Differences between the 2 goal groups were explored by univariate calculations. In the final stage of the analysis potential predictor variables were entered into a backwards elimination logistic regression model to determine significant relationships between predictor variables and drinking goal choice. RESULTS: A total of 206 (40.1%) participants selected abstinence and 308 (59.9%) selected non-abstinence as a pre-treatment drinking goal. In the univariate analysis, participants' selecting a goal of abstinence were significantly more likely to have had previous alcohol treatment (including rehabilitation, outpatient counseling, detoxification, and Alcoholics Anonymous), have had alcohol related seizures, were currently on probation or parole, had higher average of drinks per drinking day, and more heavy drinking days as compared to the non-abstinence group. In the logistic regression model the strongest predictors of a participant choosing a goal of abstinence are previous alcohol treatment, previous detoxification, current probation or parole, and absence of recreational drug use. CONCLUSIONS: Several predictor variables were found to be associated with an individual choosing a drinking goal of abstinence prior to entry into an alcohol research study. These results can be helpful for researchers conducting future clinical trials. Based on the strongest predictors, those variables can be used in stratification to prevent confounding in future research studies.
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