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Swiss and US alcohol use disorder treatment programs: Program characteristics and one-year outcomes

Moggi F, Moos R, Giovanoli A, Moos B. Swiss and US alcohol use disorder treatment programs: Program characteristics and one-year outcomes. Paper presented at: World Congresses of Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy Triennial Meeting; 2007 Jul 12; Barcelona, Spain.

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Introduction: Although there is an ever-growing body of research on the association between alcohol use disorders (AUD), patient characteristics, treatment processes, and outcomes, virtually all of it focuses only on selected samples drawn from one country at a time, especially the United States (US). This study directly compares Swiss and US AUD patients and residential treatment programs, and the relationship of program characteristics to patients’ substance use and psychosocial functioning at a 1-year follow-up. Method: The study utilized a prospective and naturalistic design to compare patients and treatment characteristics in a sample of 10 Swiss and 15 US residential programs; 160 Swiss and 329 US patient care staff members provided information on treatment. A total of 358 Swiss male patients were matched on age, marital status, and education with 358 US patients. Patients and staff members of the two countries completed the same inventories at all measurements. Results: At 1-year follow-up, the two samples did not differ in abstinence and remission rates but US patients had poorer psychosocial outcomes and a higher re-hospitalization rate than Swiss patients. Swiss programs were longer and included more individual cognitive-behavioral oriented treatment sessions; US programs focused more on group sessions and 12-step treatment. Only in the US, cognitive-behavioral treatment orientation was negatively related to abstinence. Discussion: Overall, length of programs and treatment intensity were associated with better 1-year outcomes. Although Swiss and US programs differed substantially in their characteristics, they showed comparable associations with patients’ 1-year outcomes.

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