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THE POTENTIAL FOR ALCOHOL TREATMENT research designs to affect clinical outcomes has been considered for more than 3 decades. In 1974, Gallen reported that frequent and sustained posthospitalization contact with alcohol patients contributed to low attrition, reliable data, and enhanced treatment effects. More recently, Bien et al. (1993) noted that exposure to semistructured and structured research assessments may contribute to modified drinking behaviors, as well as to reductions in alcohol-related problems. To empirically demonstrate subject reactivity effects specific to an alcohol treatment outcomes study research protocol, Clifford et al. (2000) conducted secondary data analyses showing an association between research follow up interview exposure and subsequent drinking behaviors. These correlational analyses revealed that individuals exposed to regularly scheduled research assessment interviews reported significantly better drinking outcomes (i.e., percentage of days abstinent, percentage of heavy drinking days, and mean number of drinks per drinking day) than individuals classified within either the delayed second year of follow-up or missed follow-up interviews groups. Further empirical support regarding alcohol treatment research, protocol-related subject reactivity effects is provided by recent reports that indicate a significant number of subjects modify their drinking behavior before the first treatment session. Epstein et al. (2005), for example, reported that 44% of their sample stopped drinking during the pretreatment assessment period. Similarly, Morgenstern et al. (2007) showed that significant reductions in drinking behavior occurred across treatment groups, including a no-treatment control group, before treatment onset and postbaseline assessment.

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Alcohol Research Documentation, Inc.

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