Study Design to Develop and Pilot-Test a Web Intervention for Partners of Military Service Members with Alcohol Misuse

Published in: Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, v. 9, no. 18, Sep. 2014, p. 1-9

Posted on RAND.org on September 01, 2014

by Karen Chan Osilla, Eric R. Pedersen, Kristie Gore, Thomas E. Trail, Stefanie Howard

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BACKGROUND: Alcohol misuse among military service members from the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan is over two times higher compared to misuse in the civilian population. Unfortunately, in addition to experiencing personal consequences from alcohol misuse, partners and family members of alcohol-misusing service members also suffer in negative ways from their loved one's drinking. These family members represent important catalysts for helping their loved ones identify problem drinking and overcoming the barriers to seeking care. This paper describes the protocol to a pilot study evaluating a 4-session, web-based intervention (WBI) for concerned partners (CPs) of service members with alcohol misuse. METHODS/DESIGN: The WBI will be adapted from the Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) intervention. In the first phase, we will develop and beta-test the WBI with 15–20 CPs. In the second phase, we will randomize CPs to WBI (n = 50) or to delayed-WBI (n = 50) and evaluate the impact of the WBI on CPs' perceptions of service member help-seeking and drinking, as well as the CP's well-being and relationship satisfaction 3 months after the intervention. In the third phase, we will recruit 15–20 service members whose partners have completed the study. We will interview the service members to learn how the CP-focused WBI affected them and to assess whether they would be receptive to a follow-on WBI module to help them. DISCUSSION: This project has the potential to benefit a large population of military service members who may be disproportionately affected by recent conflicts and whose drinking misuse would otherwise go undetected and untreated. It also develops a new prevention model that does not rely on service members or partners attending a hospital or clinical facility to access care.

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