Design and feasibility testing of a novel group intervention for young women who binge drink in groups

Linda Irvine (Lead / Corresponding author), Iain K. Crombie, Vivien Swanson, Elena D. Dimova, Ambrose J. Melson, Tracey M. Fraser, Rosaline Barbour, Peter M . Rice, Sheila Allan

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    Background: Young women frequently drink alcohol in groups and binge drinking within these natural drinking groups is common. This study describes the design of a theoretically and empirically based group intervention to reduce binge drinking among young women. It also evaluates their engagement with the intervention and the acceptability of the study methods.

    Methods: Friendship groups of women aged 18 – 35 years, who had two or more episodes of binge drinking (>6 UK units on one occasion; 48g of alcohol) in the previous 30 days, were recruited from the community. A face-to-face group intervention, based on the Health Action Process Approach, was delivered over three sessions. Components of the intervention were woven around fun activities, such as making alcohol free cocktails. Women were followed up four months after the intervention was delivered.

    Results: The target of 24 groups (comprising 97 women) was recruited. The common pattern of drinking was infrequent, heavy drinking (mean consumption on the heaviest drinking day was UK 18.1 units). Process evaluation revealed that the intervention was delivered with high fidelity and acceptability of the study methods was high. The women engaged positively with intervention components and made group decisions about cutting down. Twenty two groups set goals to reduce their drinking, and these were translated into action plans. Retention of individuals at follow up was 87%.

    Conclusions: This study successfully recruited groups of young women whose patterns of drinking place them at high risk of acute harm. This novel approach to delivering an alcohol intervention has potential to reduce binge drinking among young women. The high levels of engagement with key steps in the behavior change process suggests that the group intervention should be tested in a full randomised controlled trial.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0193434
    Pages (from-to)1-17
    Number of pages17
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


    • Binge drinking
    • Women
    • Natural drinking groups
    • Behavior change interventions
    • Humans
    • Treatment Outcome
    • Behavior Therapy/methods
    • Feasibility Studies
    • Young Adult
    • Counseling
    • Adult
    • Female
    • Binge Drinking/psychology
    • Research Design


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