An evaluation of a brief motivational intervention among young ecstasy and cocaine users: No effect on substance and alcohol use outcomes

TitleAn evaluation of a brief motivational intervention among young ecstasy and cocaine users: No effect on substance and alcohol use outcomes
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsMarsden, J, Stillwell, G, Barlow, H, Boys, A, Taylor, C, Hunt, N, Farrell, M
Date PublishedJul
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number0965-2140 (Print)0965-2140 (Linking)
Accession Number16771893
Keywords*Hallucinogens, *N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine, Adolescent, Adult, Alcohol Drinking/*prevention & control/psychology, Behavior Therapy/methods, Cocaine-Related Disorders/psychology/therapy, England, Female, Humans, Interview, Psychological/methods, Male, Motivation, Psychotherapy, Brief/*methods, Substance-Related Disorders/psychology/*therapy

AIMS: To investigate whether a stimulant- and alcohol-focused brief motivational intervention induces positive behaviour change among young, regular users of MDMA ('ecstasy'), cocaine powder and crack cocaine. DESIGN AND MEASUREMENTS: A randomized trial of the intervention versus a control group who received written health risk information materials only. All participants completed a baseline self-assessment questionnaire before randomization. Outcome measures were self-reported period prevalence abstinence from ecstasy, cocaine powder and crack cocaine and the frequency and amount of stimulant and alcohol use in the previous 90 days, recorded at 6-month follow-up via self-completion questionnaire and personal interview. PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: A total of 342 adolescent and young adult stimulant users (aged 16-22 years) were recruited and 87% were followed-up. The intervention was delivered by a team of 12 agency youth drug workers and two researchers at five locations in Greater London and south-east England. FINDINGS: There were no significant differences in abstinence for ecstasy, cocaine powder or crack cocaine use between the experimental and control groups. Contrasting follow-up with baseline self-reports, there were no between-group effects for changes in the frequency or amount of stimulant or alcohol use. Participant follow-up data suggested that the baseline assessment was a contributing factor in within-group behaviour change among experimental and control condition participants. CONCLUSIONS: Our brief motivational intervention was no more effective at inducing behaviour change than the provision of information alone. We hypothesize that research recruitment, baseline self-assessment and contact with study personnel are influences that induce positive reactive effects on stimulant use.

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