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Psychosocial Correlates of Alcohol Use and Reduction for Individuals With Hepatitis C

Adam T. Perzynski, Richard McCormick, Noah J. Webster, Carol E. Blixen, Stephanie Kanuch, Charles L. Thomas, Kevin D. Mullen, Neal V. Dawson

Objective: Patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) are advised to refrain from alcohol consumption. A questionnaire was developed to measure concepts associated with alcohol use for individuals with HCV. Method: Subjects with HCV (N = 527) completed a telephone survey. Eligible respondents had screened negative for current abuse/dependence disorders (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test [AUDIT] ≤ 10). Measures of personality, self-efficacy, knowledge, readiness, coping styles, stigma, and symptoms were examined for associations with alcohol use. Results: Factor analysis supported a measurement structure of 105 items in 35 subdomains. A total of 26 subdomains had significant bivariate associations with alcohol use. Higher self-efficacy for resisting drinking in social situations was associated with lower alcohol use (r = -.68, p < .001), as was knowledge of alcohol and HCV (r = -.27, p < .001). Although agreeableness and marital status are typically associated with lower current drinking in samples of those with alcohol use problems, in our study agreeableness (β = .13, p < .01) and marital status (β = .08, p < .05) were modestly associated with higher current drinking. The final multivariate R-squared was .55. Conclusions: The pattern of associations suggests the importance of the social aspects of drinking for drinking decisions. Existing brief interventions will need to be tailored to a contextualized psychosocial model for medical patients with HCV and AUDIT scores ≤ 10 to optimize effectiveness. Such future interventions should emphasize the potential medical hazards of drinking for persons with HCV, the maintenance of social relationships in the absence of alcohol use, and strategies for building confidence for resisting drinking in specific situations. (J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs, 72, 787798, 2011)