Telephone self-monitoring among alcohol use disorder patients in early recovery: a randomized study of feasibility and measurement reactivity

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2005 Aug 1;79(2):241-50. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2005.02.001. Epub 2005 Feb 25.


Frequent symptom self-monitoring protocols have become popular tools in the addiction field. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a telephone monitoring system that has been shown to be feasible for collecting frequent self-reports from a variety of research populations. Little is known, however, about the feasibility of using IVR monitoring in clinical samples, and few controlled trials exist assessing the impact of any type of frequent self-report monitoring on the behaviors monitored. This pilot study with patients in early recovery from an alcohol use disorder (n=98) evaluated compliance with two IVR monitoring protocols, subjective experiences with monitoring, and change in symptoms associated with monitoring (i.e., measurement reactivity). Participants were randomly assigned to call an IVR system daily for 28 days, once per week for 4 weeks, or only to complete 28-day follow-up assessment including retrospective drinking reports. Monitoring calls assessed alcohol craving, substance use, emotional well-being, and PTSD symptoms. Most monitoring participants completed calls on at least 75% of scheduled days (72.2% and 59.2% for daily and weekly, respectively). Including reconstructed data from follow-up of missed calls yielded 77.8% and 74.1% of maximum data points, respectively. Most monitoring participants indicated the protocol was manageable and reported positive or no effects of monitoring on urges to use alcohol, actual drinking, and PTSD symptoms. Analyses of measurement reactivity based on assessment one month after randomization found no significant group differences on drinking, craving for alcohol, or PTSD-related symptoms. Results suggest that IVR technology is feasible and appropriate for telephone symptom monitoring in similar clinical samples.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aftercare*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / therapy*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Veterans
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Pilot Projects
  • Self Care
  • Self Disclosure*
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Centers*
  • Telephone*
  • Temperance
  • Voice
  • Washington