Computer-Delivered Personalized Feedback Intervention for Hazardous Drinkers with Elevated Anxiety Sensitivity



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Rates of hazardous alcohol use among anxious/depressed persons is approximately two times that found in the general population. Hazardous alcohol use contributes to a variety of problems, ranging from interference with life functioning to psychological and physical complications. Yet, hazardous alcohol users with emotional symptoms/disorders remain a hard-to-reach and underserved group. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of a brief, computer-based personalized feedback intervention (PFI) to reduce alcohol consumption among hazardous drinkers with elevated anxiety sensitivity. The current study serves as an initial validation of a novel computer based integrated PFI for hazardous drinking and anxiety sensitivity. Seventy-four hazardous drinkers with elevated anxiety sensitivity (79.7% female; Mage=22.55) were randomized to receive the integrated PFI or attention control. Follow-up assessments were conducted at one-week and one-month post-intervention. The PFI was rated as statistically significantly more credible with greater expected reduction in alcohol use and anxiety sensitivity than control. Additionally, there was evidence for reduced alcohol consumption and perceived barriers to changing alcohol use as well as increased motivation to change alcohol use in the active condition but not the control over the course of the follow-up period. There were also reductions in anxiety sensitivity, anxious arousal, and drinking to cope with anxiety/depression, although these reductions were of similar magnitude in both conditions. There was no evidence for reduced anhedonic depression or improved drink refusal self-efficacy. Overall, effect sizes were small in size with medium reductions in alcohol consumption and anxiety sensitivity in the PFI. Despite a small sample size, this one-session online intervention offers promise in reducing drinking and improving motivation to change drinking among this high-risk group of drinkers. The computer-based format may allow for mass distribution of a low-cost intervention in the future; however, more follow-up testing in larger samples is needed prior to dissemination.



Alcohol, Brief intervention, Public health, Prevention, Harm Reduction, Mental health, Comorbidity, Personalized Feedback Intervention, Personalized normative feedback