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.