Addiction beliefs and perceived self-efficacy in problem drinkers
The current study aimed to investigate the addiction beliefs and perceived self-efficacy of clients with problematic drinking at the point of entry into a specialist alcohol treatment service. The study recruited 41 participants (25 men and 16 women) and utilised an independent samples design with correlational measures. Participants completed two self-report questionnaires: the Addition Belief Scale (Schaler, 1995) and the Alcohol Abstinence Self Efficacy Scale (DiClemente et al., 1994). No evidence of gender differences in addiction beliefs was found in the current study. Female clients had significantly stronger perceived self-efficacy in their overall ability to abstain from drinking in high risk situations, particularly situations concerning 'withdrawal and urges'. There was no evidence that contact with services such as hospital detoxification, Alcoholics Anonymous or a specialist alcohol treatment service affected clients' addiction beliefs or perceived self-efficacy. The effect of drinking patterns was also investigated and clients who were currently abstinent were found to have a significantly stronger belief in their ability to abstain. No relationship was found between addiction beliefs and perceived self-efficacy. Explanations for the current finding were supported with evidence of a possible convergence in both drinking behaviour and addiction beliefs across the sexes. It was suggested that a number of other influences may shape addiction beliefs including the beliefs of family members and significant others. As addiction beliefs were not found to be related to self-efficacy it was concluded that staff in treatment services should work within the framework of addiction which appears to have resonance for the client. Other implications for clinical practice were identified including promoting professional awareness of female problem drinkers and the benefits of assessing addiction beliefs and self-efficacy prior to intervention were considered. The limitations of the study were discussed along with suggestions for future research to investigate the possible effect of staff and client addiction beliefs on the therapeutic alliance and treatment outcome.