The Course of Alcoholism

Four Years After Treatment

by J Michael Polich, David J. Armor, Harriet B. Braiker


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Traces longitudinal patterns of alcohol-related problems and alcoholic remission over four years. A sample of 922 male alcoholics was assessed at the time of admission to treatment and at several followup points; at four years, the data included interviews and validating information for survivors, and official causes of death for those deceased. The analysis identifies factors associated with remission, relapse, and alcohol-related death over the four-year period. Patterns of psychological functioning and social adjustment are also examined and related to drinking behavior. Methodological analyses assess the validity of self-reports and the extent of potential bias due to nonresponse. Results show that although about half of the cohort was in remission at four years, remissions were generally intermittent rather than stable over long periods of time.

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