Readiness to change alcohol use after trauma.

Timothy R. Apodaca, Carol R. Schermer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Alcohol is the leading risk factor for severe injury. This study examined whether patients hospitalized after an alcohol-related injury are motivated to change alcohol use, thus making them potential candidates for brief motivational interventions. METHODS: Fifty patients hospitalized in a Level I trauma center, admitted with a positive blood alcohol concentration, were assessed for motivation to change alcohol-related behavior using validated questionnaires. Information was gathered regarding level of alcohol use, consequences of use, and motivation to change drinking habits. Demographic variables, alcohol use measures, perception of alcohol's contribution to the current injury, and negative consequences of use were evaluated by linear regression to predict readiness to change drinking. RESULTS: Mean blood alcohol concentration was 197 mg/dL at admission. Patients reported a pattern of binge drinking, with 86% reporting at least one binge-drinking episode in the past month, and a mean of 3.4 days of binge drinking per month. Most patients (84%) reported considering making a change (cutting down or quitting) in their drinking. Finally, patients reported experiencing an average of 22.5 negative lifetime consequences to their drinking. Having more negative consequences was found to significantly predict readiness to change drinking (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: In this study, most patients were motivated to change their drinking. An increased number of negative consequences of alcohol use before admission predicted readiness to change drinking habits. Brief motivational interventions would be a reasonable option in this group of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)990-994
Number of pages5
JournalThe Journal of trauma
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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