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Motivation as a Predictor of Drinking Outcomes After Residential Treatment Programs for Alcohol Dependence

Bauer, Sarah MSc; Strik, Werner MD; Moggi, Franz PhD

doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000013
Original Research

Objectives: Patients' motivation to change their substance use is usually viewed as a crucial component of successful treatment. The objective of this study was to examine whether motivation contributes to drinking outcomes after residential treatment for alcohol dependence.

Methods: Our sample included 415 Swiss patients from 12 residential alcohol treatment programs. We statistically controlled for important predictors, such as sex, employment, alcohol consumption before admission, severity of alcohol dependence, severity of psychiatric symptoms at admission, and alcohol-related self-efficacy at discharge. Abstinence, alcohol consumption, and time to first drink were used as primary outcome measures and were assessed 1 year after discharge from treatment.

Results: Action-oriented motivation to change substance use had a modest impact on drinking outcomes. At the 1-year follow-up, only the Taking Steps subscale of the Stages of Change Readiness and Treatment Eagerness Scale and alcohol-related self-efficacy were found to be significant predictors of abstinence and the number of standard drinks.

Conclusions: The impact of action-oriented motivation at admission to residential treatment is modest but still relevant, compared with other outcome predictors. It may be useful to focus treatment on improving action-oriented motivation to reduce substance use.

From the University Hospital of Psychiatry (SB, WS, FM), University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland; and Department of Psychology (FM), University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland.

Send correspondence and reprint requests to Franz Moggi, PhD, University Hospital of Psychiatry, University of Bern, Bolligenstrasse 111, 3000 Bern 60, Switzerland. E-mail:

Supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant no. 32-58803.99) and the University Hospital of Psychiatry, University of Bern.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Received June 13, 2013

Accepted November 21, 2013

© 2014 American Society of Addiction Medicine