Brief motivational interventions (BMIs) have been found to be efficacious for reducing alcohol use and consequences among college student drinkers. Despite the putative emphasis on motivation, surprisingly little is known about the role of motivation in BMI-facilitated changes. Using data from three published randomized trials implementing BMIs, we examined motivation or readiness to change (RTC) as a potential mechanism of behavior change. Two of the three studies indicated that BMI were associated with increases in motivation to change alcohol use that are apparent immediately after BMI sessions and persist up to 6-months post-intervention. However, RTC does not appear to be a mechanism of behavior change, as it did not mediate reductions in alcohol use or problems in any of the studies. Issues regarding the conceptualization and measurement of RTC are discussed, as well as promising directions for future research.
A better understanding of how to measure motivation to change and how it relates to behavior change in patients with drug and alcohol dependence would broaden our understanding of the role of motivation in addiction treatment.
Two multi-site, randomized clinical trials comparing brief motivational interventions with standard care were conducted in the National Institute on Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network. Patients with primary drug dependence and alcohol dependence entering outpatient treatment participated in a study of either Motivational Enhancement Therapy (n=431) or Motivational Interviewing (n=423). The construct, concurrent, and predictive validity of two composite measures of motivation to change derived from the University of Rhode Island Change Assessment (URICA): Readiness to Change (RTC) and Committed Action (CA) were evaluated.
Confirmatory factor analysis confirmed the a priori factor structure of the URICA. RTC was significantly associated with measures of addiction severity at baseline (r=.12-.52, p<.05). Although statistically significant (p<.01), the correlations between treatment outcomes and RTC were low (r=-.15 and -18). Additional analyses did not support a moderating or mediating effect of motivation on treatment retention or substance use.
The construct validity of the URICA was confirmed separately in a large sample of drug- and alcohol-dependent patients. However, evidence for the predictive validity of composite scores was very limited and there were no moderating or mediating effects of either measure on treatment outcome. Thus, increased motivation to change, as measured by the composite scores of motivation derived from the URICA, does not appear to influence treatment outcome.
URICA; Motivation to Change; Substance Dependence; Readiness to Change; Committed Action; Motivational Interviewing; Motivational Enhancement Therapy
This study compares the effect of a brief motivational intervention for alcohol plus a booster given to emergency department (ED) patients with subcritical injuries from a motor vehicle crash with the effect of brief motivational intervention for alcohol plus a booster in patients treated for non-motor vehicle crash-related injuries.
A randomized controlled trial (n=539) was conducted at an urban Level I trauma center of brief intervention (1 ED session of brief intervention), brief motivational intervention for alcohol plus a booster (1 ED session plus booster session), or standard care for injured ED patients with an alcohol use problem who were being discharged home. At 12 months, alcohol-related negative consequences and injuries were measured. We performed a secondary analysis comparing motor vehicle crash-injured patients and non-motor vehicle crash-injured patients in the study sample.
Subcritically injured ED patients with harmful or hazardous alcohol use who received brief motivational intervention for alcohol plus a booster had fewer alcohol-related negative consequences and alcohol-related injuries than those receiving brief intervention or standard care at 12-month follow-up (previously reported). A secondary analysis of this result showed that motor vehicle crash patients (n=133) given brief motivational intervention for alcohol plus a booster (n=34) had fewer alcohol-related injuries than those receiving standard care (n=46; P=.001). Moreover, there were no significant differences in alcohol-related injuries among the non-motor vehicle crash-injured patients who received brief intervention or standard care.
Brief motivational intervention for alcohol plus a booster is a useful intervention for subcritically injured ED patients with harmful or hazardous alcohol use. Its effects may be moderated by the cause of injury. [Ann Emerg Med. 2005;45:620-625.]
Russia has particularly low life expectancy for an industrialised country, with mortality at working ages having fluctuated dramatically over the past few decades, particularly among men. Alcohol has been identified as the most likely cause of these temporal variations. One approach to reducing the alcohol problem in Russia is 'brief interventions' which seek to change views of the personal acceptability of excessive drinking and to encourage self-directed behaviour change. Very few studies to evaluate the efficacy of brief interventions in Russia have been conducted. Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a person-centred counselling style which can be adapted to brief interventions in which help is offered in thinking through behaviour in the context of values and goals, to decide whether change is needed, and if so, how it may best be achieved.
This paper reports on an individually randomised two-armed parallel group exploratory trial. The primary hypothesis is that a brief adaptation of MI will be effective in reducing self-reported hazardous and harmful drinking at 3 months. Participants were drawn from the Izhevsk Family Study II, with eligibility determined based on proxy reports of hazardous and harmful drinking in the past year. All participants underwent a health check, with MI subsequently delivered to those in the intervention arm. Signed consent was obtained from those in the intervention arm only at this point. Both groups were then invited for 3 and 12 month follow ups. The control group did not receive any additional intervention.
441 men were randomised. Of these 61 did not have a health check leaving 190 in each trial arm. Follow up at 3 months was high (97% of those having a health check), and very similar in the two trial arms (183 in the intervention and 187 in the control).
No significant differences were detected between the randomised groups in either the primary or the secondary outcomes at three months in the intention to treat analyses. The unadjusted odds ratio (95% CI) for the effect of MI on hazardous and harmful drinking was 0.77 (0.51, 1.16). An adjusted odds ratio of 0.52 (0.28, 0.94) was obtained in the pre-specified per protocol analysis.
This trial demonstrates that it is possible to engage Russian men who drink hazardously in a brief intervention aimed at reducing alcohol related harm. However the results with respect to the efficacy are equivocal and further, larger-scale trials are warranted.
The present study is a secondary analysis of a randomized trial of brief motivational interventions (BMIs) for 198 college students sanctioned for alcohol-related violations of school policy (Carey, Henson, Carey, & Maisto, 2009). Using multivariate latent growth curve models, we evaluated theoretically-derived mediators of the observed BMI effect: motivation to change (readiness-to-change, costs and benefits of drinking), and drinking norms (injunctive norms for peers, and descriptive norms for friends, local peers, and national peers). Results provided partial support for mediation by changes in perceptions of descriptive but not injunctive norms, a pattern that varied by gender and norm type. We found no evidence of a mediating role for any of the motivational variables.
To assess the effectiveness of brief interventions in heavy drinkers by analyzing the outcome data and methodologic quality.
(1) Qualitative analysis of randomized control trials (RCTs) using criteria from Chalmers’ scoring system; (2) calculating and combining odds ratios (ORs) of RCTs using the One-Step (Peto) and the Mantel-Haenszel methods.
STUDY SELECTION AND DATA ANALYSIS
A MEDLINE and PsycLIT search identified RCTs testing brief interventions in heavy alcohol drinkers. Brief interventions were less than 1 hour and incorporated simple motivational counseling techniques much like outpatient smoking cessation programs. By a single-reviewer, nonblinded format, eligible studies were selected for adult subjects, sample sizes greater than 30, a randomized control design, and incorporation of brief alcohol interventions. Methodologic quality was assessed using an established scoring system developed by Chalmers and colleagues. Outcome data were combined by the One-Step (Peto) method; confidence limits and ξ2 test for heterogeneity were calculated.
Twelve RCTs met all inclusion criteria, with an average quality score of 0.49 ± 0.17. This was comparable to published average scores in other areas of research (0.42 ± 0.16). Outcome data from RCTs were pooled, and a combined OR was close to 2 (1.91; 95% confidence interval 1.61–2.27) in favor of brief alcohol interventions over no intervention. This was consistent across gender, intensity of intervention, type of clinical setting, and higher-quality clinical trials.
Heavy drinkers who received a brief intervention were twice as likely to moderate their drinking 6 to 12 months after an intervention when compared with heavy drinkers who received no intervention. Brief intervention is a low-cost, effective preventive measure for heavy drinkers in outpatient settings.
meta-analysis; qualitative analysis; randomized control trial; heavy drinking; brief clinical interventions
While recent progress has been achieved in understanding the structure and dynamics of social tagging systems, we know little about the underlying user motivations for tagging, and how they influence resulting folksonomies and tags. This paper addresses three issues related to this question. (1) What distinctions of user motivations are identified by previous research, and in what ways are the motivations of users amenable to quantitative analysis? (2) To what extent does tagging motivation vary across different social tagging systems? (3) How does variability in user motivation influence resulting tags and folksonomies? In this paper, we present measures to detect whether a tagger is primarily motivated by categorizing or describing resources, and apply these measures to datasets from seven different tagging systems. Our results show that (a) users’ motivation for tagging varies not only across, but also within tagging systems, and that (b) tag agreement among users who are motivated by categorizing resources is significantly lower than among users who are motivated by describing resources. Our findings are relevant for (1) the development of tag-based user interfaces, (2) the analysis of tag semantics and (3) the design of search algorithms for social tagging systems.
Social tagging systems; Tagging motivation; User motivation; User goals
Brief motivational interventions (BMIs) are usually effective for reducing alcohol use and consequences in primary care settings. We examined readiness to change drinking as a mediator of the effects of BMI on alcohol-related consequences. Participants were randomized into three conditions: (a) standard care plus assessment (SC), (b) SC plus BMI (BI), and (c) BI plus a booster session (BIB). At 12-month follow-up BIB patients had significantly reduced alcohol consequences more than had SC patients. Patients receiving BI or BIB maintained higher readiness scores 3 months after treatment than did patients receiving SC. However, readiness mediated treatment effects only for those highly motivated to change prior to the intervention but not for those with low pre-intervention motivation. BI and BIB for these patients decreased alcohol consequences in part because they enhanced and maintained readiness for those highly motivated prior to the intervention, but not for those with low motivation. Results are opposite of what would be expected from MI theory. An alternative explanation is offered as to why this finding occurred with this opportunistically recruited Emergency Department patient population.
brief intervention; alcohol use; emergency medicine
Russia is one of the very few industrialised countries in the world where life expectancy has been declining. Alcohol has been implicated as a major contributor to the rapid fluctuations observed in male life expectancy since 1985 that have been particularly marked among working-age men.
One approach to reducing the alcohol problem in Russia is 'brief interventions' which seek to change views of the personal acceptability of excessive drinking and to encourage self-directed behaviour change. There is limited understanding in Russia of the salience and applicability of Motivational Interviewing (MI), a well-defined brief intervention commonly used to target alcohol-related behaviour, but MI may have important potential for success within the Russian context.
The study will be an individually randomised two-armed parallel group exploratory trial. The primary hypothesis is that a brief adaptation of MI will be effective in reducing self-reported hazardous drinking at 3 months. The secondary hypothesis is that it will be effective in reducing self-reported past week beverage alcohol consumption, alcohol dependence and related problems at 3 months and at 12 months. MI will also be effective at 12 months in reducing self-reported hazardous drinking, alcohol dependence and related problems, proxy reported hazardous drinking, and recent alcohol use as indicated by bio-markers.
Participants are drawn from the Izhevsk Family Study II, with eligibility determined based on proxy reports of hazardous drinking in the past year. All participants undergo a health check, with MI subsequently delivered to those in the intervention arm. Signed consent is obtained from those in the intervention arm at this point. Both groups are then invited for 3 and 12 month follow ups. The control group will not receive any additional intervention.
The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to explore the perceptions and experiences of health educators in providing a brief, street-based intervention to homeless adolescents.
Qualitative data were collected via e-mail from a purposive sample of 13 male and female health educators who provided the intervention and analyzed using manifest and latent content analysis techniques.
Five categories with two or more subcategories were identified in the data and included how the educators' views changed, how they felt homeless youth were similar to and different from other adolescents, positive aspects and challenges of providing the intervention, and suggestions for future interventionists working with this population.
The health educators' practice was strengthened over the course of providing the intervention through their positive experiences, changes in their perceptions, some of which were biased, and ability to confront the challenges that accompany working with this vulnerable population.
Health educators who work with this population should learn about the culture of homeless youth and characteristics of homeless youth that may influence their participation in a sexual health intervention. Moreover, they need to be non-judgmental, practice the intervention, be aware of their biases, and remain flexible.
Health educator; sexual health; homeless adolescents; qualitative research
Research into psychosocial interventions (particularly cognitive-behavior therapies and social skills training) for social-communication deficits among individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has proliferated over the past decade. While this research has provided some empirical support for the efficacy of these interventions, little work has begun to elucidate therapeutic mechanisms—the when, why, how, for whom, and under what conditions an intervention may produce change, identification of mechanisms underlying these effects should help advance ASD intervention research. This article describes methods for assessing such mechanisms (ie, mediators and moderators) and presents promising candidates for common mechanisms impacting treatment response: behavior modification, therapeutic relationship, social knowledge, social motivation, social information processing, executive functioning, and internalizing comorbidities. Finally, future directions are discussed as a program of psychosocial intervention research designed to identify predictors of individual differences in treatment response (including biomarkers), isolate active therapeutic ingredients, and promote dissemination of optimized interventions.
intervention; autism spectrum disorder; mechanism; cognitive-behavioral therapy; social skills training; mediator; moderator; alliance; social knowledge; biomarker
Internet-based interventions for education and behavior change have proliferated, but most adolescents may not be sufficiently motivated to engage in Internet-based behavior change interventions. We sought to determine how two different forms of primary care physician engagement, brief advice (BA) versus motivational interview (MI), could enhance participation outcomes in an Internet-based depression prevention intervention.
Eighty-three adolescents at risk for developing major depression were recruited by screening in primary care and randomized to two groups: BA (1–2 minutes) + Internet program versus MI (10–15 minutes) + Internet program. We compared measures of participation and satisfaction for the two groups for a minimum of 12 months after enrollment.
Both groups engaged the site actively (MI: 90% versus BA: 78%, p=0.12). MI had significantly higher levels of engagement than BA for measures including total time on site (143.7 minutes versus 100.2 minutes, p=0.03), number of sessions (8.16 versus 6.00, p=0.04), longer duration of session activity on Internet site (46.2 days versus 29.34 days, p=0.04), and with more characters typed into exercises (3532 versus 2004, p=0.01). Adolescents in the MI group reported higher trust in their physician (4.18 versus 3.74, p=0.05) and greater satisfaction with the Internet-based component (7.92 versus 6.66, p=0.01).
Primary care engagement, particularly using motivational interviewing, may increase Internet use dose, and some elements enhance and intensify adolescent use of an Internet-based intervention over a one to two month period. Primary care engagement may be a useful method to facilitate adolescent involvement in preventive mental health interventions.
depressive disorder; adolescents; prevention; Internet; primary care; intervention; motivational interview; brief advice
Prenatal alcohol exposure is a leading preventable cause of birth defects and developmental disabilities in the United States.
A randomized controlled trial (2002–2005; data analyzed 2005–2006) of a brief motivational intervention to reduce the risk of an alcohol-exposed pregnancy (AEP) in preconceptional women by focusing on both risk drinking and ineffective contraception use.
A total of 830 nonpregnant women, aged 18–44 years, and currently at risk for an AEP were recruited in six diverse settings in Florida, Texas, and Virginia. Combined settings had higher proportions of women at risk for AEP (12.5% overall) than in the general population (2%).
Participants were randomized to receive information plus a brief motivational intervention (n=416) or to receive information only (n=414). The brief motivational intervention consisted of four counseling sessions and one contraception consultation and services visit.
Main Outcome Measures
Women consuming more than five drinks on any day or more than eight drinks per week on average, were considered risk drinkers; women who had intercourse without effective contraception were considered at risk of pregnancy. Reversing either or both risk conditions resulted in reduced risk of an AEP.
Across the follow-up period, the odds ratios (ORs) of being at reduced risk for AEP were twofold greater in the intervention group: 3 months, 2.31 (95% confidence interval [CI]=1.69–3.20); 6 months, 2.15 (CI=1.52–3.06); 9 months, 2.11 (CI=1.47–3.03). Between-groups differences by time phase were 18.0%, 17.0%, and 14. 8%, respectively.
A brief motivational intervention can reduce the risk of an AEP.
How does motivation interact with cognitive control during challenging behavioral conditions? Here, we investigated the interactions between motivation and cognition during a response conflict task and tested a specific model of the effect of reward on cognitive processing. Behaviorally, participants exhibited reduced conflict during the reward vs. no-reward condition. Brain imaging results revealed that a group of subcortical and fronto-parietal regions was robustly influenced by reward at cue processing and, importantly, that cue-related responses in fronto-parietal attentional regions were predictive of reduced conflict-related signals in the medial prefrontal cortex (PFC)/anterior cingulate cortex during the upcoming target phase. Path analysis revealed that the relationship between cue responses in the right intraparietal sulcus (IPS) and interference-related responses in the medial PFC during the subsequent target phase was mediated via signals in the left fusiform gyrus, which we linked to distractor-related processing. Finally, reward increased functional connectivity between the right IPS and both bilateral putamen and bilateral nucleus accumbens during the cue phase, a relationship that covaried with across-individual sensitivity to reward in the case of the right nucleus accumbens. Taken together, our findings are consistent with a model in which motivationally salient cues are employed to upregulate top-down control processes that bias the selection of visual information, thereby leading to more efficient stimulus processing during conflict conditions.
Greater understanding of the mechanisms (mediators) by which behavioral change interventions work is critical to developing theory and refining interventions. Although systematic reviews have been advocated as a method for exploring mediators, this is rarely done. One challenge is that intervention researchers typically test only two paths of the mediational model: the effect of the intervention on mediators and on outcomes. We addressed this challenge by drawing information not only from intervention studies but also from observational studies, which provide data on associations between potential mediators and outcomes. We also reviewed qualitative studies of participants’ perceptions of why and how interventions worked. Using data from intervention (n= 37) and quantitative observational studies (n=55), we conducted a meta-analysis of the mediation effects of eight variables. Qualitative findings (n=6) contributed to more in-depth explanations for findings. The methods used have potential to contribute to understanding of core mechanisms of behavioral change interventions.
systematic review; mediation analysis; meta-analysis; antiretroviral therapy; treatment adherence
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of two brief interventions and the inclusion of a 1-month booster session with college students who were referred to attend alcohol education following an alcohol-related incident. Participants (N=225; 48.9% male) were randomly assigned to receive one session of a Brief Motivational Interview (BMI) or computer-delivered intervention (CDI) with the Alcohol 101 CD-ROM. Participants were also randomly assigned to booster/no booster. At 3-month follow up participants in BMI reported greater help seeking and use of behavioral strategies to moderate drinking. At 12-month follow up, BMI participants were drinking more frequently and CDI participants were consuming a greater number of drinks per occasion than at baseline. Mediation analyses showed that the use of specific behavioral strategies fully mediated the effect of the BMI condition on drinking volume. There was no intervention effect on alcohol problems and the booster condition did not significantly affect outcomes. Promoting specific behaviors in the context of in-person brief interventions may be a promising approach to reducing drinking volume among identified at-risk students.
Research indicates that brief motivational interventions are efficacious treatments for hazardous drinking. Little is known, however, about the psychological processes that may moderate intervention success. Based on growing evidence that drinking behavior may be influenced by automatic (nonvolitional) mental processes, the current study examined whether automatic alcohol-approach associations moderated the effect of a brief motivational intervention. Specifically, we examined whether the efficacy of a single-session intervention designed to increase motivation to reduce alcohol consumption would be moderated by the strength of participants’ automatic alcohol-approach associations.
Eighty-seven undergraduate hazardous drinkers participated for course credit. Participants completed an Implicit Association Test to measure automatic alcohol-approach associations, a baseline measure of readiness to change drinking behavior, and measures of alcohol involvement. Participants were then randomly assigned to either a brief (15-minute) motivational intervention or a control condition. Participants completed a measure of readiness to change drinking at the end of the first session and returned for a follow-up session six weeks later in which they reported on their drinking over the previous month.
Compared with the control group, those in the intervention condition showed higher readiness to change drinking at the end of the baseline session but did not show decreased drinking quantity at follow-up. Automatic alcohol-approach associations moderated the effects of the intervention on change in drinking quantity. Among participants in the intervention group, those with weak automatic alcohol-approach associations showed greater reductions in the amount of alcohol consumed per occasion at follow-up compared with those with strong automatic alcohol-approach associations. Automatic appetitive associations with alcohol were not related with change in amount of alcohol consumed per occasion in control participants. Furthermore, among participants who showed higher readiness to change, those who exhibited weaker alcohol-approach associations showed greater reductions in drinking quantity compared with those who exhibited stronger alcohol-approach associations.
The results support the idea that automatic mental processes may moderate the influence of brief motivational interventions on quantity of alcohol consumed per drinking occasion. The findings suggest that intervention efficacy may be improved by utilizing implicit measures to identify those who may be responsive to brief interventions and by developing intervention elements to address the influence of automatic processes on drinking behavior.
Automatic processes; Alcohol; Implicit association test; Motivational intervention; Self-control; Self-regulation; Addiction
This article reviews studies and current practices of brief motivational intervention in the emergency department and identifies factors related to the effectiveness of brief intervention. Studies of brief intervention in the emergency department have had mixed results with most studies showing improvements in both intervention and control groups. Most report brief intervention reducing alcohol’s negative consequences without reducing consumption. Clinical practice is incorporating brief intervention as part of emergency treatment and further research is needed to determine the factors most responsible for the improvements noted in most studies.
brief motivational intervention; emergency medicine
Evaluate moderators and mediators of brief alcohol interventions conducted in the Emergency Department.
Patients (18–24 years; N = 172) in an Emergency Department received a motivational interview with personalized feedback (MI) or feedback only (FO), with 1- and 3-month booster sessions and 6- and 12-month follow ups. Gender, alcohol status/severity group (ALC+ Only, AUDIT+ Only, ALC+/AUDIT+), attribution of alcohol in the medical event, aversiveness of the event, perceived seriousness of the event, and baseline readiness to change alcohol use were evaluated as moderators of intervention efficacy. Readiness to change also was evaluated as a mediator of intervention efficacy, as were perceived risks/benefits of alcohol use, self-efficacy, and alcohol treatment seeking.
Alcohol status, attribution, and readiness moderated intervention effects such that patients who had not been drinking prior to their medical event, those who had low or medium attribution for alcohol in the event, and those who had low or medium readiness to change showed lower alcohol use 12 months after receiving MI compared to FO. In the AUDIT+ Only group those who received MI showed lower rates of alcohol-related injury at follow up than those who received FO. Patients who had been drinking prior to their precipitating event did not show different outcomes in the two interventions, regardless of AUDIT status. Gender did not moderate intervention efficacy and no significant mediation was found.
Findings may help practitioners target patients for whom brief interventions will be most effective. More research is needed to understand how brief interventions transmit their effects.
Alcohol; Brief Intervention; Emergency Room
Computer-based brief motivational interventions may be able to reach a high proportion of at-risk individuals and thus have potential for significant population impact. The present studies were conducted to determine the acceptability and preliminary efficacy of a computer-based brief motivational intervention (the motivation enhancement system, or MES). In Study 1, quantitative and qualitative feedback from 30 postpartum women and 17 women in treatment for drug use were used to modify the software. In Study 2, 50 urban postpartum women who reported drug use in the month before pregnancy completed the intervention and provided repeated within-session ratings of state motivation. In Study 3, 30 women were randomly assigned to intervention or control conditions with 1-month follow-up. Overall, women rated the MES as highly acceptable and easy to use and reported significant increases in state motivation at postintervention and at 1-month follow-up (d = .49). These preliminary results are encouraging and suggest that further work in this area is warranted.
Drugs; Computer-based; Perinatal; Motivation; Brief intervention
We sought to identify relationship and partner-related moderating variables that influence the effectiveness of both a couples and a solo learning intervention designed to increase skin self-examination behavior in a sample of patients at risk for developing melanoma.
Patients received a brief intervention designed to teach skin self-examination skills and were randomly assigned into either a solo learning condition where the intervention was administered to the patient alone (n = 65) or a couple learning condition where the intervention was administered to the patient and patient’s spouse or cohabiting partner (n = 65). The main outcome measure was skin self-examination self-efficacy, which is the strongest mediator of skin self-examination. The relationship moderator variables measured were quality of relationship, partner motivation, and ability to assist in implementation of the intervention.
When quality of the marital/partner relationship was high, the beneficial effects provided by the partner being included in the skin self-examination skills training were the highest and patients exhibited higher self-efficacy. Similar effects were observed for those with partners who were motivated to implement the intervention, and for those with partners high in ability to provide support.
Study limitations include the need to evaluate whether the effects can be sustained long term and the exclusion of patients with melanoma without partners.
The amount of beneficial effects gained by the patient from the skin self-examination intervention was influenced by marital/partner relationships. Clinicians may need to consider these relationship and partner characteristics when communicating to patients about skin cancer screening.
Food restriction is known to enhance learning and motivation. The neural mechanisms underlying these responses likely involve alterations in gene expression in brain regions mediating the motivation to feed.
Analysis of gene expression profiles in male C57BL6/J mice using whole-genome microarrays was completed in the medial prefrontal cortex, nucleus accumbens, ventral tegmental area, and the hypothalamus following a five day food restriction. Quantitative PCR was used to validate these findings and determine the time-course of expression changes. Plasma levels of the stress hormone corticosterone (CORT) were measured by ELISA. Expression changes were measured in adrenalectomized animals that underwent food restriction, as well as in animals receiving daily injections of CORT. Progressive ratio responding for food, a measure of motivated behavior, was assessed after CORT treatment in restricted and fed animals.
Brief food restriction results in an upregulation of peripheral stress responsive genes in the mammalian brain. Time-course analysis demonstrated rapid and persistent expression changes in all four brain regions under study. Administration of CORT to non-restricted animals was sufficient to induce a subset of the genes, and alterations in gene expression after food restriction were dependent on intact adrenal glands. CORT can increase the motivation to work for food only in the restricted state.
These data demonstrate a central role for CORT in mediating both molecular and behavioral responses to food restriction. The stress hormone-induced alterations in gene expression described here may be relevant for both adaptive and pathological responses to stress.
transcription; neural plasticity; starvation; obesity; motivation; stress hormones
In the ProActive Trial an intensive theory-based intervention program was no more effective than theory-based brief advice in increasing objectively measured physical activity among adults at risk of Type 2 diabetes. We aimed to illuminate these findings by assessing whether the intervention program changed cognitions about increasing activity, defined by the Theory of Planned Behaviour, in ways consistent with the theory.
N = 365 sedentary participants aged 30–50 years with a parental history of Type 2 diabetes were randomised to brief advice alone or to brief advice plus the intervention program delivered face-to-face or by telephone. Questionnaires at baseline, 6 and 12 months assessed cognitions about becoming more physically active. Analysis of covariance was used to test intervention impact. Bootstrapping was used to test multiple mediation of intervention impact.
At 6 months, combined intervention groups (face-to-face and telephone) reported that they found increasing activity more enjoyable (affective attitude, d = .25), and they perceived more instrumental benefits (e.g., improving health) (d = .23) and more control (d = .32) over increasing activity than participants receiving brief advice alone. Stronger intentions (d = .50) in the intervention groups than the brief advice group at 6 months were partially explained by affective attitude and perceived control. At 12 months, intervention groups perceived more positive instrumental (d = .21) and affective benefits (d = .29) than brief advice participants. The intervention did not change perceived social pressure to increase activity.
Lack of effect of the intervention program on physical activity over and above brief advice was consistent with limited and mostly small short-term effects on cognitions. Targeting affective benefits (e.g., enjoyment, social interaction) and addressing barriers to physical activity may strengthen intentions, but stronger intentions did not result in more behaviour change. More powerful interventions which induce large changes in TPB cognitions may be needed. Other interventions deserving further evaluation include theory-based brief advice, intensive measurement of physical and psychological factors, and monitoring of physical activity. Future research should consider a wider range of mediators of physical activity change, assess participants' use of self-regulatory strategies taught in the intervention, and conduct experimental studies or statistical modelling prior to trial evaluation. ISRCTN61323766.
Poor linkage with substance abuse treatment remains a problem, negating the benefits that can accrue to both substance abusers and the larger society. Numerous behavioral interventions have been tested to determine their potential role in improving linkage.
A randomized clinical trial of 678 substance abusers compared the linkage effect of two brief interventions with the referral standard of care (SOC) at a centralized intake unit (CIU). Interventions included five sessions of strengths-based case management (SBCM) or one session of motivational interviewing (MI). A priori hypotheses predicted that both interventions would be better than the standard of care in predicting linkage and that SBCM would be more effective than MI. We analyzed the effect of the two interventions on overall treatment linkage rates and by treatment modality. Logistic regression analysis examined predictors of treatment linkage for the sample and each group.
Two hypotheses were confirmed in that SBCM (n = 222) was effective in improving linkage compared to the SOC (n = 230), 55.0% vs. 38.7% (p < .01). SBCM improved linkage more than MI (55.0% vs. 44.7%, p < .05). Motivational interviewing (n = 226) was not significantly more effective in improving linkage than the standard of care (44.7% vs. 38.7%; p > .05). The three trial groups differed only slightly on the client characteristics that predicted linkage with treatment.
The results of this study confirm a body of literature that supports the effectiveness of case management in improving linkage with treatment. The role of motivational interviewing in improving linkage was not supported. Results are discussed in the context of other case management and motivational interviewing linkage studies.
Case management; Motivational interviewing; Linkage; Substance abuse treatment
Drug use among parenting women is a significant risk factor for a range of negative child outcomes, including exposure to violence, child maltreatment, and child behavior problems. Implementation of brief interventions with this population may be greatly facilitated by computer-based interventions.
Randomized clinical trial with 4-month follow-up.
Participants were 107 postpartum women recruited from an urban obstetric hospital primarily serving a low-income population. Women were randomized into assessment only versus assessment plus brief intervention conditions; 76 (71%) returned for follow-up evaluation.
A 20-minute, single-session computer-based brief motivational intervention (based on Motivational Interviewing methods) combined with two nontailored mailings and voucher-based reinforcement of attendance at an initial intake/treatment session.
Main outcome measures
Illicit drug use as measured by qualitative urinalysis and self-report.
Frequency of illicit drug use other than marijuana increased slightly for the control group, but declined among intervention group participants (p <0.05, between-groups Mann-Whitney U; d = 0.50); the magnitude of intervention effects on changes in marijuana use frequency was similar, but did not reach statistical significance. Point-prevalence analysis at follow-up did not show significant group differences in drug use. However, trends under a range of assumptions regarding participants lost to follow-up all favored the intervention group, with most effect sizes in the moderate range (ORs 1.4 to 4.7).
Results tentatively support the efficacy of this high-reach, replicable brief intervention. Further research should seek to replicate these findings and to further develop the computer as a platform for validated brief interventions.