An interactive voice response program to reduce drinking relapse: a feasibility study

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2006 Jan;30(1):21-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2005.08.010.


Substance-abusing patients often relapse soon after undergoing treatment, thus requiring intensive aftercare or re-treatment. More efficient monitoring and follow-up of patients could contribute to better treatment outcomes. This study evaluated the feasibility of a computer-automated interactive voice response (IVR) system to reduce relapse following discharge from residential treatment. Sixty participants completing a residential treatment program and meeting DSM-IV criteria for alcohol dependence were randomized to three groups: (1) daily IVR reporting with personal follow-up on noncompliant callers; (2) daily IVR reporting without follow-up; or (3) no IVR reporting (control group). At 30, 90, and 180 days after discharge, participants were interviewed to obtain timeline follow-back drinking data and completed the Work and Social Adjustment Scale, Obsessive-Compulsive Drinking Scale, SF-36, and Drinker Inventory of Consequences. This pilot study suggests that using automated IVR technology to monitor clients after discharge is feasible and warrants further research and development. IVR systems also provide the potential for delivering individualized feedback.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Secondary Prevention
  • User-Computer Interface*