Brief alcohol intervention for general hospital inpatients: A randomized controlled trial

Jennis Freyer-Adam*, Beate Coder, Sebastian E. Baumeister, Gallus Bischof, Jeannette Riedel, Karin Paatsch, Barbara Wedler, Hans Jürgen Rumpf, Ulrich John, Ulfert Hapke

*Corresponding author for this work
45 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To test the effectiveness of a brief alcohol intervention among non-dependent general hospital inpatients with alcohol problems, delivered by either a specialized liaison service or hospital physicians. Method: All inpatients of 29 wards from four general hospitals of one region in Germany were screened for alcohol problems (n = 14,332). Of those screening positive, 595 patients were included in a randomized controlled group design using a time-frame. Patients with alcohol dependence were not considered in this study. Patients received Motivational Interviewing based counselling either by a specialized liaison service, by hospital physicians trained under routine conditions or received hospital treatment as usual without additional counselling. One year later, alcohol consumption, motivation and well-being were assessed. Sample survey analyses and generalized estimating equations were conducted. Results: At baseline, the three groups differed regarding motivation, with higher motivation among the controls. At follow-up, the groups did not differ regarding alcohol consumption, alcohol-related problems and well-being. All groups decreased their alcohol consumption significantly. Regarding motivation, longitudinal analyses revealed significant interaction effects of time and intervention (p < 0.05), indicating a stronger increase of readiness to change drinking and a less profound drop of readiness to seek help among those who received intervention compared to the controls. Conclusion: The intervention was not effective in reducing alcohol consumption or in increasing well-being 12 months after hospitalization. It had a positive effect on readiness to change drinking and on readiness to seek formal help for alcohol problems. The intervention groups compensated their lag of motivation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)233-243
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 01.03.2008

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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