Screening and brief intervention for risky alcohol consumption in the workplace: results of a 1-year randomized controlled study

Alcohol Alcohol. May-Jun 2010;45(3):252-7. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agq021.


Aims: To assess the effectiveness of brief alcohol intervention on hazardous and harmful drinking in the 12-month period after a voluntary alcohol screening.

Methods: At a large transport company, employees presenting to the occupational health services for a routine health and lifestyle check-up were offered to undertake an alcohol screening by means of self-report (the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-AUDIT) and a biomarker (carbohydrate-deficient transferrin in serum-CDT). Those screening positive for the AUDIT and/or CDT were randomized to a brief or comprehensive intervention group or to a control group. An identical follow-up session was performed 12 months later.

Results: Of 990 employees (68% men) that volunteered for the alcohol screening, 194 (20%) tested positive for the AUDIT and/or CDT. Among the 158 (81%) subjects who also attended the follow-up session, the frequency of positive screening results at baseline/follow-up were 51%/23% for the AUDIT (P < 0.0001) and 58%/34% (P < 0.0001) for CDT. However, there were no significant differences between the brief and comprehensive intervention groups or between the intervention groups and the control group.

Conclusion: The results suggested that alcohol screening and brief intervention performed in connection with routine health and lifestyle examinations in the workplace may be effective in reducing alcohol consumption. Given the lack of difference in outcome between the intervention groups and the control group, alcohol screening may in itself cause reduction in drinking. In addition, at least some of the positive effect may be explained by regression towards the mean.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Alcoholism / diagnosis*
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation*
  • Biomarkers
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychotherapy, Brief
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Transferrin / analogs & derivatives
  • Transferrin / metabolism
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Workplace*
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Transferrin
  • carbohydrate-deficient transferrin