A systematic review of emergency care brief alcohol interventions for injury patients

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2008 Sep;35(2):184-201. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2007.09.008. Epub 2008 Feb 20.


This article examines 14 studies that assessed the effectiveness of brief interventions (BIs) delivered to injury patients in emergency care settings. The aims were to review findings concerning the effectiveness of providing BI in these settings and to explore factors contributing to its effectiveness. Of the 12 studies that compared pre- and post-BI results, 11 observed a significant effect of BI on at least some of the outcomes: alcohol intake, risky drinking practices, alcohol-related negative consequences, and injury frequency. Two studies assessed only post-BI results. More intensive interventions tended to yield more favorable results. BI patients achieved greater reductions than control group patients, although there was a tendency for the control group(s) to also show improvements. Five studies failed to show significant differences between the compared treatment conditions. Variations in the study protocol, alcohol-related recruitment criteria, screening and assessment methods, and injury severity limit the specific conclusions that can be drawn.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • Emergency Medical Services / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychotherapy, Brief / methods*
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control