Readiness to Change and to Accept Help and Drinking Outcomes in Young Adults of Mexican Origin

J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2015 Jul;76(4):602-6. doi: 10.15288/jsad.2015.76.602.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess whether readiness to change drinking (RCD) and readiness to accept help (RAH) improve short- and longer term drinking outcomes.

Method: Data from a randomized controlled trial of screening and brief intervention (SBI) conducted in a U.S. emergency department at the U.S.-Mexico border are reported. A total of 620 at-risk and dependent Mexican-origin drinkers (56% male), ages 18-30, received either an assessment only or intervention (SBI). Drinking outcomes included drinking days per week, average and maximum drinks per drinking day, heavy drinking (5+ drinks) days per week, and negative consequences. Random effects longitudinal models predicted baseline, 3-month, and 12-month drinking outcomes from baseline RCD and RAH. Models tested if (a) outcomes were significantly reduced at follow-ups and (b) differential reduction occurred by RCD, RAH, and post-intervention changes in readiness among those receiving SBI.

Results: For both study groups, outcomes improved from baseline to each follow-up across RCD and RAH status. RCD was not associated with differential improvement in outcomes for either group. In the SBI group, those RAH reported larger reductions at 3 months in average and maximum quantity than those not RAH but did not differ from those not RAH at 12-month outcomes. Among the SBI group, changing from not ready to ready (RTC or RAH) post-intervention was not associated with greater reductions in drinking compared with remaining not ready or ready post-intervention.

Conclusions: Baseline RCD is not associated with drinking outcomes. Baseline RAH may facilitate greater reductions in drinking for those receiving SBI and should be further examined as a possible mediator of SBI effects for young adults of Mexican origin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult