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A Longitudinal Model of Intake Symptomatology, AA Participation and Outcome: Retrospective Study of the Project MATCH Outpatient and Aftercare Samples

Gerard J. Connors, J. Scott Tonigan, William R. Miller

Objective: The present study used data gathered in Project MATCH to longitudinally assess intake symptomatology, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) participation, and outcome. Three primary constructs were considered: intake symptomatology, engagement in prescribed AA-related activities and functioning after engagement in AA-related behaviors. Method: The participants were 480 outpatient and 434 aftercare clients who participated in Project MATCH. Results: Similar findings were found for each sample. Intake symptomatology positively predicted AA participation during the first 6 months following treatment. Although network support for drinking was negatively related to AA participation, such support did not mediate the relationship between intake symptomatology and subsequent AA participation. AA participation, in turn, positively predicted frequency of abstinent days in Months 7-12 posttreatment. This latter relationship was mediated by perceived self-efficacy to avoid drinking (Month 6). AA participation was positively related to self-efficacy to avoid drinking, which, in turn, predicted more days abstinent. One difference between the outpatient and aftercare samples emerged, involving the latent construct intake symptomatology. Intake symptomatology among outpatients was not predictive of percentage of abstinent days (Months 7-12), whereas intake symptomatology was negatively predictive of percentage of abstinent days in the aftercare sample. Conclusions: Intake symptomatology positively predicted participation in AA, which predicted subsequent abstinent days. The positive relationship between AA participation and self-efficacy to avoid drinking may explain in part why AA engagement predicts subsequent increases in abstinence. (J. Stud. Alcohol 62: 817-825, 2001)