Exploring Productivity Outcomes from a Brief Intervention for At-Risk Drinking in an Employee Assistance Program

Published In: Addictive Behaviors, v. 35, no. 3, Mar. 2010, p. 194-200

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2010

by Karen Chan Osilla, Erin Dela Cruz, Jeremy N. V. Miles, Steven P. Zellmer, Katherine E. Watkins, Mary E. Larimer, G. Alan Marlatt

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Brief intervention (BI) research has traditionally examined alcohol and drug use outcomes; however it is unknown whether BIs can also impact on-the-job productivity. This exploratory study examines changes in workplace productivity and related costs for clients receiving a BI for at-risk drinking in the employee assistance program (EAP). Participants were 44 clients attending the EAP for behavioral health concerns, screened for at-risk drinking, assigned to BI + Usual Care (n = 25) or UC alone (n = 19), and who completed 3-month follow-up. Absenteeism, presenteeism, and productivity costs were derived as outcomes. At follow-up, participants in the BI + UC group had improved productivity when at work (presenteeism) compared to the UC group. The estimated cost savings from improved productivity for the BI + UC group was $1200 per client over the UC group. Groups did not differ by absenteeism (missed days of work). Preliminary evidence suggests the broad impact BIs may have. Implications for future BI research are discussed.

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