A note on brief interventions

As noted above, alcohol treatment evaluations have often found that briefer interventions are as effective as longer ones in clinical populations. This finding has fuelled substantial efforts to encourage non-specialists to apply brief interventions to broader populations of problematic drinkers, not only in the context of primary-care medical practice but also in such contexts as college counselling (45) and on-site in public houses and bars.(46) In such contexts, brief interventions may be viewed as a form of targeted persuasion. Results in these expanded frames have been somewhat mixed. Evaluations of brief interventions by medical general practitioners have not always found effects.(47) Persuading general practitioners to use the methods on a sustained basis has not proved easy,(48) and their patients are often unreceptive(49' or recalcitrant.(59 It remains to be seen whether and in what sociocultural circumstances making brief interventions for problematic drinking a routine part of general medical practice is a feasible and effective strategy.

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