Brief motivational sessions with women who came to the emergency department after episodes of excessive drinking and domestic violence did not appear to reduce the violence or the drinking, according to a large randomized study by an interdisciplinary team of researchers, including three from the school of nursing, at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
The study, which was published in the Aug. 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, contrasts with evidence from previous studies, which have found that brief interventions in the ED help reduce alcohol consumption and prevent injury among patients who drink excessively.
Researchers studied two groups: One received motivational sessions; the other group received referrals to social services resources but no motivational counseling. The study found excessive drinking and incidents of domestic violence — either perpetrated or received by the women — decreased in both groups at a similar rate.
“Concerns have been raised that brief motivational interventions for heavy drinking are less effective in women and in victims of violence; our results support those concerns,” lead author Karin Rhodes, MD, MS, director of the Center of Emergency Care Policy & Research in the department of Emergency Medicine at Penn, said in a news release
“Hopefully our results will serve as a catalyst for further testing to see if a more intensive version of the intervention, provided in a different setting, for a longer period of time might be effective,” Rhodes said in the release. ”Relationship violence and heavy drinking are two risk factors that commonly occur together, and have highly negative consequences for individuals, as well as their families and communities. We have to keep working on solutions to these problems.”