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Journal Article


Metrik J, Frissell KC, McCarthy DM, D'Amico EJ, Brown SA. Alcohol Clin. Exp. Res. 2003; 27(1): 74-80.


University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, 92093, USA.


(Copyright © 2003, John Wiley and Sons)






BACKGROUND: Although the majority of youth and adults resolve alcohol problems without formal treatment, we know little about the strategies used by youth in their efforts to decrease alcohol use. Recent studies have begun to address change efforts that adolescents report being helpful in cutting down or stopping alcohol use. The current study seeks to improve our understanding of adolescent change processes in alcohol use by examining the perceptions of high school students. METHODS: As part of a secondary alcohol intervention study of high school students (ages 12-18; 51% male), 1069 participants completed an anonymous supplemental questionnaire on change strategies for cutting down and stopping alcohol use. Based on content analysis of youth-generated responses, a classification system consisting of nine broad categories was developed (e.g., informal-interpersonal supports, formal aids, alternative activities). Participant responses were independently coded by two raters trained to criterion. Cases with full agreement (n = 934; 96%) were used for data analyses of methods for cutting down drinking, stopping drinking, and strategies recommended for a friend. RESULTS: The five most frequently youth-generated change strategies to alter drinking were environmental exposure management (e.g., avoid drinking situations, 19%); informal interpersonal supports (e.g., talk to a friend, 18%); formal aids (e.g., peer support group, counselor, 17%); behavioral self-management (e.g., limit consumption, 14%); and alternative activities (e.g., recreation, sports, 10%). Whereas informal interpersonal supports were consistently endorsed for all change situations, behavioral self-management strategies were viewed as more useful for reduction of drinking and formal aids more critical for cessation efforts. Some differences were observed in youth-generated strategies for changing their own drinking compared with efforts to help friends, with environmental changes (e.g., reducing exposure to risk situations and people, formal aids) more often considered when changing youth's own behavior, and strategies reflecting a need for personal change (e.g., education) recommended to others. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings support theoretical conceptualizations of alcohol and drug problem resolution that accommodates multiple pathways to recovery. The normative information about specific change strategies generated by youth may further aid in the design of interventions more acceptable for adolescents.

Language: en


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