Latent classes and transitions for brief alcohol interventions in trauma settings : clinical and policy implications
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Those who misuse alcohol in the United States do not regularly seek treatment on their own to reduce use and avoid consequences of misuse. Because of the association between alcohol misuse, alcohol-related risk behaviors, and injury; alcohol misuse in the United States has serious societal and individual repercussions. To alleviate these problems, health care professionals; including doctors, nurses, and social workers; have an opportunity to screen injured patients for alcohol misuse and provide brief interventions. Although some brief intervention research has demonstrated reductions in alcohol misuse and other injury-related behaviors, other evidence indicates that brief alcohol interventions are not equally effective for all injured patients. Moreover, screening and brief alcohol interventions are not reimbursed in most states, leaving providers and medical centers uncompensated for providing services. A possible way to address these challenges is to target intervention services to patients who are most likely to make positive changes. Therefore, this dissertation used mixture modeling to identify subclasses of injured patients based on their past injury-related consequences and risks of alcohol misuse in order to describe which subgroups made the greatest reductions in drinking in the year following discharge from a Level-1 trauma center. This dissertation also identified which subclasses of patients made the greatest behavioral improvements for injury-related consequences and risks of alcohol misuse during the year following discharge from the trauma center. Patients with profiles that contained high probabilities of multiple consequences and risks and those with histories of alcohol-related accidents and injuries reported some of the largest improvements in drinking and injury-related consequences and risks following discharge. Those classes that made the fewest changes had profiles that consisted of fighting and taking foolish risks while drinking or that consisted of low probabilities of risks or consequences of alcohol misuse. This dissertation provides tentative evidence for targeting intervention services to injured patients. Further research should verify which subclasses of patients are most likely to reduce alcohol misuse and other alcohol-related risk behaviors in order to more effectively target brief alcohol interventions, increase cost savings, and improve the health and behavioral health outcomes for injured patients who misuse alcohol.