A randomized clinical trial of a brief motivational intervention for alcohol-positive adolescents treated in an emergency department

J Pediatr. 2004 Sep;145(3):396-402. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2004.04.057.


We tested whether a brief motivational interview (MI) would reduce alcohol-related consequences and use among adolescents treated in an emergency department (ED) after an alcohol-related event. Patients aged 13 to 17 years (N = 152) with a positive blood alcohol concentration (BAC) by lab test or self-report were recruited in the ED and randomly assigned to receive either MI or standard care (SC). Both conditions resulted in reduced quantity of drinking during the 12-month follow-up, whereas alcohol-related negative consequences were relatively low and stayed low at follow-up. Adolescents who screened positive for problematic alcohol use at baseline reported significantly more improvement on 2 of 3 alcohol use outcomes (average number of drinking days per month and frequency of high-volume drinking) if they received MI compared with SC. We conclude that brief interventions are recommended for adolescents who present to an ED with an alcohol-related event and report preexisting problematic alcohol use.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control
  • Alcohol Drinking / therapy*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychotherapy, Brief / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires