Alchol and Alcoholism
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Aims: We investigate the effect of motivational interviewing (MI), delivered in a brief intervention during an emergency care contact, on the alcohol consumption of young people who screen positively for present or previous risky alcohol consumption. Methods: MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, PsycARTICLES, PsycINFO, PSYNDEX and Scopus were searched for randomized controlled trials with adolescents or young adults that compared MI in an emergency care setting to control conditions and measured drinking outcomes. Results: Six trials with 1433 participants, aged 13–25 years, were included in the systematic review and meta-analysis. MI was never less efficacious than a control intervention. Two trials found significantly more reduction in one or more measures of alcohol consumption in the MI intervention group. One trial indicated that MI may be used most effectively in young people with highvolume alcohol consumption. Separate random effects meta-analyses were performed based on the highest impact that MI added on reducing the drinking frequency and the drinking quantity at any point in time during the different study periods. Their results were expressed as standardized mean differences (SMDs). The frequency of drinking alcohol decreased significantly more after MI than after control interventions (SMD ≤−0.17, P ≤ 0.03). In addition, MI reduced the drinking quantity further than control interventions in a meta-analysis of the subset of trials that were implemented in the USA (SMD=−0.12, P=0.04). Meta-analyses of the smallest mean differences between MI and control groups detected no differences in alcohol use (SMD ≤ 0.02, P ≥ 0.38). Conclusion: MI appears at least as effective and may possibly be more effective than other brief interventions in emergency care to reduce alcohol consumption in young people.