Statement of Purpose The purpose of this study was to develop and pilot test a remote therapy intervention (RTI) for youth with aggression and alcohol use.
Methods/Approach First, we conducted secondary data analysis of the SafERteens study. Participants (ages 14–18) receiving a therapist brief intervention (n=215) were classified as responders (26%) or non-responders (74%) based on aggression and/or binge drinking at 3 month follow-up. Bivariate analyses showed that as compared to responders, at baseline non-responders reported greater alcohol use, and peer/dating victimisation and aggression. Logistic regression analysis showed that significant predictors of responder status were depression and delinquency. Second, we pilot tested an 8-session RTI addressing aggression and alcohol use. Youth (ages 14–20) in an urban emergency department screening positive for past 2 month alcohol use and aggression were enrolled in an open pilot study with a 4 month follow-up. The sessions combined elements of motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioural therapy to address alcohol use and aggression (e.g., conflict resolution), as well as markers of response (e.g., depression, delinquency). The intervention was delivered in-person by a therapist during the ED visit and remotely by phone in the 12 weeks following the ED visit.
Results In total, 16 youth participated [M age=18.8; 31% male; 50% African-American]. Over 50% of participants completed 5 or more sessions, with >90% rating the sessions as very/extremely helpful. Paired analyses (baseline, follow-up) showed significant decreases in aggression, victimisation, alcohol consequences, and violence consequences; although not significant, use of alcohol decreased from 100% to 40%.
Conclusion Based on feedback from participants, future recommendations include tailoring the number of sessions based on need and delivery of sessions by video or in-person.
Significance and Contributions to Injury and Violence Prevention Science Findings will inform the development of adaptive interventions for aggression and alcohol use, with dose increased or decreased based on response.
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