Military Populations: Linking Motivational Interviewing Plus Feedback with Untreated Alcohol Abuse

Research Paper Title

Randomised Trial of Motivational Interviewing Plus Feedback for Soldiers With Untreated Alcohol Abuse.


Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are prevalent in the military and are a major public health concern. Although efficacious AUD interventions exist, few service members seek treatment. Army-specific barriers to AUD treatment include treatment being recorded on health records, command being notified of participation, and perceptions that seeking treatment would interfere with promotion or retention in the military.

Evaluate a telephone delivered motivational interviewing plus feedback (MIF) intervention designed to attract self-referral and reduce substance use from active-duty military with untreated AUD.


A randomised controlled trial enrolled 242 Army personnel who met criteria for AUD according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.) and who were not engaged in AUD treatment. Participants were screened and assessed at baseline, 1-week, and 3- and 6-month follow-ups. Participants were randomly assigned to receive 1 session of MIF or psychoeducation (control). All participation occurred over the telephone. Primary outcomes included number of drinks per week, substance use disorder (SUD) diagnosis and consequences, and treatment-seeking behaviour.


Generalised linear models were used to test group differences in drinking behaviours and substance use problems. Results indicated that all participants significantly reduced their drinking over time. MIF participants reported significantly fewer drinks per week than did control participants. Similarly, alcohol dependence diagnosis was marginally lower among MIF participants than control participants at the 6-month assessment. SUD treatment seeking significantly increased for both conditions.


This novel adaptation of MIF shows promise for decreasing drinking and alcohol dependence among this high-risk sample of non-treatment-seeking soldiers and may complement existing AUD services already provided by the Army.


Walker, D.D., Walton, T.O., Neighbors, C., Kaysen, D., Mbilinyi, L., Darnell, J., Rodriguez, L. & Roffman, R.A. (2016) Randomized Trial of Motivational Interviewing Plus Feedback for Soldiers With Untreated Alcohol Abuse. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 2016 Oct 13. [Epub ahead of print].


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.