Brief interventions in emergency departments may reduce violence and alcohol abuse among adolescents

August 3, 2010, JAMA and Archives Journals

Brief interventions among adolescents reporting to emergency departments may be associated with a reduction in the experience of peer violence and alcohol misuse in this population, according to a study in the August 4 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on violence and human rights.

"The emergency department is an important contact point for for adolescents, especially underinsured or uninsured patients," the authors note as background to the study. "Adolescents seeking care in the emergency department are an important population for based on increased risk of problems related to alcohol and violence."

Between September 2006 and September 2009, Maureen A. Walton, M.P.H., Ph.D., of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and colleagues studied 726 adolescents age 14 to 18 who reported to a level I emergency department in Flint, Mich. between 12 p.m. and 11 p.m. All patients participated in a computerized assessment and were then randomly placed into three groups: a control group receiving a brochure, or one of two receiving a 35-minute brief intervention delivered by either a computer or therapist in the emergency department, followed by assessments at three and six months. "Combining motivational interviewing with skills training, the brief intervention for violence and alcohol included a review of goals, tailored feedback, decisional balance exercise, role plays and referrals."

Compared with in the control group, those in the therapist intervention showed self-reported reductions in the occurrence of peer , experience of peer violence and violence consequences at three months. Additionally, participants in the therapist intervention decreased the number of violence consequences at the three-month mark compared with those in the control group.

Participants in the therapist intervention reported higher reductions in alcohol consequences at the six-month review than those in the control group, and participants in the computer intervention also reported reductions in alcohol consequences. "Given that a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in this age group is violence, the reduction in the occurrence of severe violence following a single-session brief intervention is clinically meaningful," the authors note.

"…findings support the efficacy of a therapist brief intervention (with computerized feedback and structure) in decreasing the occurrence of experiencing peer violence in the three months following an visit," the authors conclude. "Computerized approaches could assist in translating research findings into routine clinical practice by standardizing intervention delivery and have wide applicability across other content areas and settings."

More information: JAMA. 2010;304[5]:527-535.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.