An exploration of factors affecting goal choice, attrition and attendance at follow-up in an alcohol treatment unit
Fifty problem drinkers attending a specialist alcohol treatment unit took part in this study to investigate factors affecting choice of treatment goal, length of time people stay in treatment and attendance at follow-up. Heather, Tebbutt, Mattick & Zamir(1993) proposed that the Impaired Control Scale (ICS) may prove useful in enhancing clinical descriptions of the drinking behaviour of those entering treatment, and as a measure of change and outcome. Participants who had requested attendance on a ten week day programme at the clinic completed the ICS and the Severity of Alcohol Dependency Questionnaire (Stockwell, Hodgson, Edwards, Taylor & Rankin, 1979). Data on age, employment status, marital status, maximum period of abstention and average daily quantity consumed was collected from assessment forms and case sheets. Four and a half months after assessment participants were invited to attend a follow-up interview. Fifteen people attended from the original fifty, and completed the ICS, the Severity of Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire if they had been misusing alcohol, and an outcome evaluation questionnaire. Results demonstrated that the ICS had acceptable reliability and was of some assistance in clarifying the difference between those who achieved their goal at follow-up and those that did not. With regard to differences between people who chose abstention and those who chose controlled drinking, those who saw themselves as more physically dependant chose abstinence as a treatment goal. The clinical implications of the results are discussed in relation to factors affecting goal choice, the problems of attrition and attendance at follow-up. The usefulness of the ICS and its potential to assist in the clarifying these areas is commented on. This thesis also contains three small scale research projects completed during placements in the Learning Difficulties, Child and Elderly specialities.