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Can Targeting Nondependent Problem Drinkers and Providing Internet-Based Services Expand Access to Assistance for Alcohol Problems? A Study of the Moderation Management Self-Help/Mutual Aid Organization

Keith Humphreys, Elena Klaw

Objective: Moderation Management (MM) is the only alcohol self-help organization to target nondependent problem drinkers and to allow moderate drinking goals. This study evaluated whether MM drew into assistance an untapped segment of the population with nondependent alcohol problems. It also examined how access to the organization was influenced by the provision of Internet-based resources. Method: A survey was distributed to participants in MM face-to-face and Internet-based self-help groups. MM participants (N = 177, 50.9% male) reported on their demographic characteristics, alcohol consumption, alcohol problems and utilization of professional and peer-run helping resources. Results: MM appears to attract women and young people, especially those who are nondependent problem drinkers. It was also found that a significant minority of members experienced multiple alcohol dependence symptoms and therefore may have been poorly suited to a moderate drinking program. Conclusions: Tailoring services to nondependent drinkers and offering assistance over the Internet are two valuable methods of broadening the base of treatment for alcohol problems. Although interventions like MM are unlikely to benefit all individuals who access them, they do attract problem drinkers who are otherwise unlikely to use existing alcohol-related services. (J. Stud. Alcohol 62: 528-532, 2001)