Little is known about the extent to which individuals participating in drinking reduction interventions use the drinking reduction strategies presented during treatment. In consideration of this issue, we advanced hypotheses about the impact of baseline drinking patterns on strategy use and the relationship of strategy use to drinking patterns over time. One hundred forty-four women who participated in a 10-week drinking reduction program were monitored over an 18-month posttreatment follow-up period. Results indicated that the frequency of baseline heavy drinking days and the frequency of baseline abstinent/light drinking days negatively predicted drinking reduction strategy use during treatment. Over follow-up, strategy use decreased; however, participants who received booster sessions had higher strategy use during the initial phase of follow-up. Although cross-lagged panel analysis revealed that strategy use during treatment predicted abstinent/light days at the 6-month follow-up assessment, this effect was moderated by baseline drinking patterns. These data indicated that the use of drinking reduction strategies is predictive of subsequent reduced drinking only in the early posttreatment period and only for baseline heavier drinkers. Future research is needed to further specify the interplay of strategy use and drinking outcomes and to develop interventions designed to encourage the continued use of strategies over extended periods of time.
Keywords: secondary prevention, drinking reduction strategies, moderated drinking, women, alcohol abuse