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A Comparison of Outcome with Group/Marital and Standard/Individual Therapies with Alcoholics:

Thomas G. Bowers, Mahra R. Al-Redha

Sixteen couples were assigned to either a standard individual therapy condition or a couples group therapy condition. The standard individual treatment condition was conventional outpatient therapy at an outpatient alcohol treatment center, while the couple condition was a group outpatient therapy for alcoholics and their spouses. Treatment outcome was assessed on alcohol consumption for the alcoholic partner. In addition, measures of marital or relationship adjustment, ratings of social functioning and ratings of work functioning were administered to both the alcoholic and the spouse. Assessment was conducted at pretreatment, posttreatment, 6-month follow-up and 1-year follow-up. While the two treatment groups were not significantly different on any measures at the termination of therapy, the conjointly treated alcoholics had significantly lower alcohol consumption than the standard group at 6-month follow-up. There was also a trend for the couple treatment condition to be drinking less than the standard condition at 1-year follow-up. There was also a trend for the conjointly treated couples to report better Marital Adjustment Scale (MAS) scores than those in the standard treatment condition at 6-month follow-up. The conjointly treated couples also had significantly higher relationship ratings adjusted for pretreatment differences at the 6-month and 1-year follow-up. The couple therapy condition appeared to facilitate greater maintenance of improvement, as reflected in follow-up assessments. (J. Stud. Alcohol 51: 301-309, 1990)