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Project duration: 05/2003-04/2006
Sponsor: National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Award: $218,151

Abstract: This research will use existing data from the Relapse Replication and Extension Project (RREP) to increase our understanding of the relapse process in individuals who have received treatment for an alcohol use disorder. This dataset includes pre- and post-treatment assessment of drinking behavior, background characteristics, and relapse precipitants in a group of 563 research participants, who were recruited from 15 treatment sites that offered a variety of alcoholism treatment approaches. Using a multi-deterministic framework, the relationship between background variables, risk and protective factors, and situational determinants will be examined with respect to post-treatment drinking outcomes. It is well-documented that a lack of effective coping responses increases relapse risk; and self-efficacy, outcome expectancies, and the abstinence violation effect, are cognitive factors that have been identified as important mediators in the return to heavy drinking following treatment. However, the relationship between these variables in the relapse process has not been clearly established. Focusing on the process of relapse, rather than evaluating relapse as a dichotomous event, the proposed research will examine trajectories of drinking behavior during the first year after treatment for an alcohol use disorder. Specifically, the first goal of the research is to further delineate the relationship between coping behavior, background characteristics, and cognitive factors in the prediction of these trajectories using advanced statistical models, including both catastrophe models and general growth mixture models. The second goal of the research is to test the utility and appropriateness of these advanced modeling techniques in the prediction of post-treatment drinking outcomes. Gaining a better understanding of the relapse process has been a primary goal of addictive behaviors research for the past 30 years. The abundance of treatment outcome data for addictive behaviors makes the proposed research an important and cost-effective contribution to the advancement of our understanding of the relapse process.