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Comparative Effectiveness of Three Types of Spouse Involvement in Outpatient Behavioral Alcoholism Treatment

Barbara S. McCrady, Nora E. Noel, David B. Abrams, Robert L. Stout, Hilary Fisher Nelson, William M. Hay

Treatment was provided to 53 alcoholics and their spouses in one of three outpatient behavioral treatment conditions: ( 1 ) minimal spouse involvement (MSI) ( N = 21), ( 2 ) alcohol-focused spouse involvement (AFSI) ( N = 13) or ( 3 ) alcohol-focused spouse involvement plus behavioral marital therapy (ABMT) (W = 19). Subjects were followed for 6 months after treatment. All subjects markedly decreased their drinking and reported increased life satisfaction. ABMT subjects were more compliant than AFSI subjects with conjoint homework assignments, decreased their drinking more quickly during treatment, relapsed more slowly after treatment and maintained marital satisfaction better. ABMT subjects were more likely than MSI subjects to stay in treatment and maintained their marital satisfaction better after treatment. Clinical and theoretical significance of the findings are discussed.