Counseling may not reduce young adult drinking
Motivational counseling may not be an effective way to treat risky drinking behaviors and alcohol abuse among young adults, according to a new analysis of research on the subject.
Motivational interviewing is a method used by counselors in which they interact with a patient in a non-judgmental way to highlight the dangers of an activity, with the ultimate goal of causing behavioral changes.
Researchers at Oxford Brookes University in the U.K. looked at data from clinical trials of motivational interviewing that was conducted among people between ages 15 and 26 and aimed at reducing risky drinking behavior. The data was compared with young people of the same age who received either no counseling or some other type of therapy.
The researchers found that risky behaviors, such as binge drinking or driving drunk, did not change among those who received counseling.
The results showed slight differences in weekly alcohol consumption—12.2 drinks per week among those who receive counseling, compared with 13.7 among those who received no counseling—as well as minor differences in days per week spent drinking—2.5 days during the week after four months of counseling, compared with 2.7 among those who received no counseling. These differences, however, were deemed too small to be meaningful or have any implications for policy or practice, researchers concluded.
The report of the analysis, released by The Cochrane Library, suggests that health care experts should not change how they practice counseling, but that additional intervention and therapy methods may be worth exploring.