The use of systematic encouragement and community access procedures to increase attendance at Alcoholic Anonymous and Al-Anon meetings

Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 1981;8(3):371-6. doi: 10.3109/00952998109009560.


A difficulty in the treatment of alcoholism is that many alcoholics referred to treatment programs never reach the referral destination, or if they do, they seldom remain involved in those programs. The present study attempted to increase participation in Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon meetings. Twenty clients were selected from an outpatient mental health alcoholism treatment program and randomly assigned to either a standard referral procedure which involved giving the client information about Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon; encouraging the client to attend; and providing information concerning time, date, and location of weekly meetings; or to a systematic encouragement and community access procedure which involved a phone call being made in the counseling session to a local Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon member in which the member briefly talked to the client about the meeting, offered to give a ride to the client and to meet the client before the meeting and having the Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon member call the client the night of the meeting to remind them of it and to encourage them to come. The results of this study showed that 100% of the experimental group attended Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon within 1 week of referral and continued to attend, whereas none of the control group ever attended. The results of this study suggest that the systematic encouragement and community assess procedure are significantly more effective than standard referral systems.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholics Anonymous*
  • Community Mental Health Centers
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methods
  • Random Allocation
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • United States