Effectiveness of alcohol brief intervention in a general hospital: a randomized controlled trial

Jean McQueen, Tracey E. Howe, Claire Ballinger, Jon Godwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
125 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of an alcohol brief intervention (ABI) on alcohol consumption in hazardous or harmful drinkers compared with screening alone within a general hospital setting. Method: Following screening, 124 hazardous or harmful drinkers (103 men, ages 18-80 years, score of 3-12 on the Fast Alcohol Screening Test [FAST]) admitted to medical and orthopedic wards during the 13-month recruitment period were randomized to receive an ABI or control. The intervention group received an ABI where they were supported to set their own personalized alcohol reduction goals, and both groups received a health information leaflet. Retrospective alcohol consumption for 7 days was reported for the week, before hospital admission and 6 months after it. Results: Demographics and clinical characteristics at baseline showed no statistical differences between the two groups on all variables except FAST score, which was higher in the intervention group (p ≤ .05). A reduction of 85 grams of alcohol per week (95% CI [162.46, 7.54]) was observed between groups in favor of the intervention group based on changes from baseline. However, there was no significant difference between groups for absolute grams of alcohol per week at 6 months. A significant mean difference in favor of the intervention group (U = 1,537, p = .043) was observed for weekly heavy drinking episodes. Conclusions: Our results suggest screening with delivery of ABI for harmful/hazardous drinkers in a general hospital is beneficial in reducing alcohol consumption compared with screening alone.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)838–844
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of studies on alcohol and drugs
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2015


  • alcohol
  • General Hospital
  • intervention
  • randomized controlled trial


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