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Effects of substance use screening and brief intervention on health-related quality of life

Quality of Life Research
J. L. Zorland, D. Gilmore, J. A. Johnson, R. Borgman, J. Emshoff, J. Akin, J. P. Seale, S. Shellenberger, G. P. Kuperminc



Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment interventions have been shown to positively impact alcohol use. These programs utilize motivational interviewing techniques in an effort to reduce risky substance use among those at elevated risk of developing a disorder. However, there is a dearth of research assessing positive impacts above and beyond changes in alcohol use. This study examines potential benefits of brief interventions, utilizing motivation interviewing, on mental and physical quality of life.


The present quasi-experimental study examined changes in health-related quality of life among individuals presenting at urban emergency departments. The analyses included the use of propensity score matching to minimize potential biases resulting from differences between groups at baseline.


The results indicated that the intervention group experienced significant increases in perceptions of mental health over those of the comparison group, regardless of changes in substance use.


These findings have implications for practice, as they suggest that brief substance abuse interventions delivered in the emergency department settings may have effects beyond those targeted by the intervention. Specifically, brief substance abuse interventions may positively impact mental health, thus enhancing the quality of life among targets of the intervention.

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