Keywords: primary care, harmful alcohol consumption, brief intervention, willingness to be treated
Preventive approaches such as brief intervention (BI) have been shown to be effective in reducing alcohol consumption in general practice patients. Despite its proven effect most General Practitioners (GPs) have not implemented BI into their routine care. According to the GPs the lack of adherence and willingness to be treated with BI are crucial barriers against its implementation. In contrast, research investigating the patients' attitudes towards alcohol associated interventions revealed that patients showed a rather high willingness to be treated in case of a too high alcohol consumption. By an experiment we tried to find out the real willingness of patients to be treated with BI.
Are general practice patients willing to be treated with BI in case of a too high alcohol consumption? Do GPs estimate the patients' willingness to be treated with BI too negatively?
Using a questionnaire general practice patients were asked for their willingness to be treated with BI under the hypothetical condition of a too high alcohol consumption. Their willingness was assessed firstly under the condition of a consequent implementation style and the use of demands and secondly under the condition of an inconsequent implementation style and the use of recommendations. According to our hypothesis lack of willingness would be shown by preferring the inconsequent style.
Altogether 442 questionnaires were analyzed. Mean age of patients was 44 years. More than half of the patients were women (54.7%). The sample preferred the non-strict implementation style, F(1,423) = 5.56, p < .05.
It was shown that primary care patients prefer the non-consequent implementation of BI suggesting a rather low willingness to be treated. Future research should focus on personal characteristics that are associated with a higher willingness.
Points for discussion:
Brief interventions suitable for general practice?
Is it time for new treatment ideas?