(HealthDay News) — Motivational interviewing may not be an effective technique for addressing alcohol misuse in young adults, according to a review published online August  21 in The Cochrane Library.

David R. Foxcroft, PhD, of Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, U.K., and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the literature to assess the evidence for use of motivational interviewing as an intervention for alcohol misuse in young adults. Data from 66 randomized trials involving 17,901 young adults ≤25 years of age were analyzed. The authors sought to examine the effects of motivational interviewing on drinking behavior and alcohol-related problems.

The researchers found moderate-quality evidence that, at ≥4 months of follow-up after motivational interviewing, alcohol consumed was reduced from 13.7 to 12.2 drinks per week (standardized mean difference [SMD], −0.14; 95% confidence interval [CI], −0.20–−0.08), frequency of alcohol consumption was reduced from 2.74 days per week to 2.57 days per week (SMD, −0.11; 95% CI, −0.19–−0.03), and peak blood alcohol concentration (BAC) decreased from 0.144% to 0.129% (SMD, −0.14; 95% CI, −0.23–−0.05). Low-quality evidence indicated a marginal effect for alcohol-related problems (SMD, −0.08; 95% CI, −0.15–0.00). Moderate-quality evidence showed no effects for binge drinking (SMD, −0.05; 95% CI, −0.12–0.01) or average BAC (SMD, −0.08; 95%CI, −0.22–0.06).

“The results suggest that for young people who misuse alcohol there is no substantial, meaningful benefit of motivational interviewing,” Foxcroft said in a statement.

Oxford Brookes University has received funding from the alcohol industry for prevention program development and training.

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