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Journal Article


Leonhard A, Leonhard C, Sander C, Schomerus G. Addict. Behav. 2022; 134: e107426.


(Copyright © 2022, Elsevier Publishing)






BACKGROUND: Low problem recognition is a barrier to seeking treatment for alcohol use disorder ("AUD"). Promoting continuum belief narratives, which conceptualize AUD as a spectrum, together with narratives that promote non-abstinence recovery may boost self-recognition of risky drinking. This experimental study examines the effect of dichotomous vs continuous symptom narratives and non-abstinence vs abstinence recovery narratives on self-recognition of risky drinking among students.

METHODS: N = 489 participants were randomized to one of four interventions combining a continuous vs dichotomous AUD symptom narrative with an abstinence vs moderated drinking AUD recovery narrative in a 2×2 design. Participants completed demographic and alcohol use (AUDIT-C) preintervention measures and postintervention measures assessing self-recognition of risky drinking and endorsement of continuum beliefs.

RESULTS: Moderate drinking recovery narratives resulted in higher endorsement of continuum beliefs (F (1, 485) = 16.27, p <.001, η(2)(p) =.032 90 % CI [0.01, 0.06]). Recognizing own risky drinking behavior was unaffected by the interventions. However, in a subgroup of participants without prior AUD experience who met AUDIT-C criteria for risky drinking, the combination of a continuous symptom narrative and moderated drinking recovery narrative resulted in higher problem recognition (F (1, 48) = 5.79, p =.020, η(2)(p) =.10, 90 % CI [0.01, 0.25]).

CONCLUSIONS: Exposure to moderated drinking recovery narratives may help develop an awareness in young adults that problematic alcohol use exists on a spectrum. Among those at increased risk for AUD, exposure to narratives that promote a continuous model of AUD and non-abstinence recovery may increase problem recognition.

Language: en


Alcohol use disorder; Abstinence; Continuum beliefs; Disease models; Recovery goal; Self-recognition


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