Objective: This study, drawing upon data collected as part of a randomized clinical trial of alcohol treatment matching effects, investigates the relationship between research follow-up assessment interviews and subsequent drinking behaviors. Method: Subjects (N = 188; 143 men) participated in a day hospital substance-use disorder treatment program at either a private psychiatric hospital (n = 151) or a community hospital (n = 37) and were classified into one of three research groups: regularly scheduled follow-up interviews, missed scheduled follow-up interviews, and delayed Year-2 follow-up interviews. Complete data relevant to the present study were collected on 157 subjects. Results: Study results provided support for a subject reactivity effect related to the research follow-up interview; that is, those subjects classified within the regularly scheduled follow-up interviews condition had the better drinking outcomes. Furthermore, by the end of the second follow-up year, subjects classified within the delayed Year-2 follow-up interviews condition had the poorest drinking outcomes. Conclusions: There may be considerable potential for subject reactivity effects, specific to the research assessment interview, to confound study results. Therefore, the interpretation of data from alcohol treatment outcome studies that fail to control for such potential confounding effects must be viewed with caution. Researchers are advised to control for these potentially confounding effects via methodological and/or statistical mechanisms.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)