Little is known about the long-term impact of brief alcohol interventions (BAIs) on health and on sick days in particular. The aim was to investigate whether BAIs reduce sick days in general hospital patients over two years, and whether effects depend on how BAIs are delivered; either through in-person counseling (PE) or computer-generated written feedback (CO). To investigate this, secondary outcome data from a three-arm randomized controlled trial with 6-, 12-, 18- and 24-month follow-ups were used. The sample included 960 patients (18–64 years) with at-risk alcohol use identified through systematic screening on 13 hospital wards. Patients with particularly severe alcohol problems were excluded. Participants were allocated to PE, CO and assessment only (AO). Both interventions were tailored according to behavior change theory and included three contacts. Self-reported number of sick days in the past 6 months was assessed at all time-points. A zero-inflated negative binomial latent growth model adjusted for socio-demographics, substance use related variables and medical department was calculated. In comparison to AO, PE (OR = 2.18, p = 0.047) and CO (OR = 2.08, p = 0.047) resulted in statistically significant increased odds of reporting no sick days 24 months later. Differences between PE and CO, and concerning sick days when any reported, were non-significant. This study provides evidence for the long-term efficacy of BAIs concerning health, and concerning sick days in particular. BAIs have the potential to reduce the occurrence of sick days over 2 years, independent of whether they are delivered through in-person counseling or computer-generated written feedback.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)