Interventions for reducing adolescent alcohol abuse: A meta-analytic review

Stephen J. Tripodi, Kimberly Bender, Christy Litschge, Michael G. Vaughn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

104 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To assess the effectiveness of substance abuse interventions for their ability to reduce adolescent alcohol use. Data Sources: MEDLINE; PsycINFO; ERIC; Wilson Social Science Abstracts; Criminal Justice Abstracts; Social Work Abstracts; Social Science Citation Index; Dissertations Abstracts International; National Criminal Justice Research Service; Social, Psychological, Criminological, Educational Trials Register; and the PsiTri databases from 1960 through 2008. Study Selection: Of 64 titles and abstracts identified, 16 studies and 26 outcomes constituted the sample. The researchers calculated Hedges g effect sizes and used a random-effects model to calculate adjusted pooled effect sizes. Heterogeneity was explored using stratified analyses. Main Exposure: Completion of a substance abuse intervention that aimed to reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption. Main Outcome Measures: Abstinence, frequency of alcohol use, and quantity of alcohol use measured between 1 month and 1 year upon completion of treatment. Results: Pooled effects of standardized mean differences indicate that interventions significantly reduce adolescent alcohol use (Hedges g= -0.61; 95% confidence interval [CI], -0.83 to -0.40). Stratified analyses revealed larger effects for individual treatment (Hedges g= -0.75; 95% CI, -1.05 to -0.40) compared with family-based treatments (Hedges g= -0.46; 95% CI, -0.66 to -0.26). Conclusions: Treatments for adolescent substance abuse appear to be effective in reducing alcohol use. Individualonly interventions had larger effect sizes than familybased interventions and effect sizes decreased as length of follow-up increased. Furthermore, behavior-oriented treatments demonstrated promise in attaining longterm effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-91
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jan

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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