Moderators of Brief Motivation-Enhancing Treatments for Alcohol-Positive Adolescents Presenting to the Emergency Department

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2016 Oct;69:28-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2016.06.014. Epub 2016 Jun 29.


A 2011 randomized controlled trial compared the effectiveness of two brief motivation-enhancing therapy (MET) models among alcohol-positive adolescents in an urban emergency department: adolescent MET-only versus MET + Family Check-Up (FCU), a parent MET model. Results indicated that among the 97 adolescents completing the 3-month assessment, both conditions were associated with reduced drinking and MET+FCU was associated with lower rates of high volume drinking than adolescent MET-only. The goal of this study was to identify predictors and moderators of high volume drinking in the original trial. Seven candidate variables were evaluated as moderators across three domains: demographic characteristics, psychological factors, and socio-contextual factors. Analyses of covariance models identified one significant predictor and one significant moderator of outcome. Older adolescents had significantly worse drinking outcomes than younger adolescents regardless of MET condition. Adolescents whose parents screened positive for problematic alcohol use at baseline had significantly worse drinking outcomes in the MET+FCU condition than the MET-only condition. Results indicate that alcohol-positive adolescents presenting to the emergency department may respond better to MET models if they are under the age of 16. Involving parents who have problematic alcohol use in a parent-focused MET may have negative effects on adolescent high volume drinking.

Keywords: Adolescent; Emergency department; Moderator; Motivation-enhancement therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Age Factors
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / therapy
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / therapy*
  • Child of Impaired Parents / statistics & numerical data
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivational Interviewing / methods*
  • Parents
  • Treatment Outcome