Newswise – A new study suggests that skilled facilitators of a motivational interview-based alcohol intervention are key to promoting safer drinking behavior among young adults experiencing homelessness. The study is the first to examine the effects of group process on emerging adults’ drinking habits using various measures of group dynamics. Some young adults experiencing homelessness may access drop-in center services, but interventions must be brief and feasible in resource-limited settings. Previous studies of AWARE, an intervention based on motivational interviewing in a four-session group format, found reductions in alcohol consumption in this vulnerable population. However, it is not clear which aspects of the group experience—process, structure, and clinician behavior—contribute to these results. Research points to the importance of change conversations (e.g., “I’m quitting for the summer”), cohesion (group bonding), climate (group commitment and mutual support), and facilitator empathy (how well the clinician understands clients’ perspectives). there. . For studying in Alcohol: Clinical and Experimental ResearchExamining the AWARE intervention process, researchers measured multiple facets of the group experience and their associations with alcohol use among young adults experiencing homelessness.

Investigators worked with 132 adults ages 18 to 25 who were experiencing homelessness and seeking help at one of three drop-in centers in Los Angeles County. The participants were predominantly male and non-white. They completed baseline surveys about the frequency and amount of alcohol consumption in the past month and assessed the importance of limiting alcohol consumption or maintaining abstinence. The researchers digitally recorded and coded 63 group sessions – with an average of 6 participants each. It highlighted conversations about positive changes related to drinking, the extent to which participants showed mutual support and solidarity, and facilitators’ efforts to capture clients’ perspectives. Ratings for each session were assigned to each participant who attended that session and averaged. Participants completed additional surveys at 3, 6, and 12 months post-intervention. The researchers used statistical analysis to examine associations between group processes and drinking outcomes. Site 1 differed significantly from the others for reasons including: higher alcohol consumption at baseline; Consequently, the researchers examined each site separately.

Overall, the study found a decrease in alcohol consumption among AWARE participants at all three sites, with improvements visible one year after the intervention. The group process results provide more detailed evidence of how sessions influenced behavior change. At 6 months, a higher percentage of change conversations was associated with fewer drinks per drinking day at Sites 2 and 3; The opposite was found at site 1. After a year, there were no effects of the change discussions. Greater group cohesion was associated with fewer drinking days after 6 months. Higher facilitator empathy was associated with fewer maximum drinks in a day at both 6 and 12 months, among other positive outcomes. Group climate was not associated with drinking outcomes.

The study highlights the importance of measuring multiple factors in the group process to provide a more detailed understanding of group dynamics and behavior change outcomes. It highlights the value of change talk – including its benefits for observers and those who express it – in addition to group cohesion and the empathy of facilitators. The study adds to the growing evidence on the importance of facilitator skills, which can also contribute to indirect effects, for example by facilitating conversations about change and cohesion.

Understanding the Effects of Group Process on Drinking Habits for Emerging Adults Experiencing Homelessness. E. D’Amico, J. Houck, E. Pedersen, DJ Klein, A. Rodriguez, J. Tucker. (p. xxx)


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