Results of a Randomized Trial of Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) to Reduce Alcohol Misuse Among Active-Duty Military Personnel
Rates of heavy alcohol use among active-duty military personnel in the United States are high and negatively affect individuals within the service branches. This study tested the effectiveness of a military-focused screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) intervention for reducing risky alcohol use among active-duty patients.
The study used a randomized, parallel, two-group design to test the effectiveness of the SBIRT intervention in a convenience sample of service members recruited from the emergency department of a military hospital. A total of 791 participants were randomized to the SBIRT or usual care conditions, and 472 participants (59.7%) completed a 6-month follow-up. Fifteen percent of the sample was female. Self-reported Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), controlled drinking [alcohol use] self-efficacy (CDSE), and readiness to change alcohol use behaviors were assessed at baseline and follow-up.
Among higher risk participants (i.e., AUDIT ≥8), results of a complete case analysis showed a significant reduction in scores on the AUDIT-C (consumption questions from the AUDIT) and a significant increase in CDSE. Null findings were observed for intent-to-treat analyses testing the effectiveness of the SBIRT intervention; significant decreases in AUDIT and AUDIT-C scores and significant increases in CDSE were observed over time, irrespective of condition assignment for both complete case and intent-to-treat analyses.
Results of a complete case analysis provided some support for the effectiveness of the SBIRT intervention for higher risk participants. The results of the more conservative intent-to-treat analyses did not support any of the study hypotheses. Future SBIRT effectiveness trials should also test electronic SBIRT intervention approaches.