AFFECT REGULATION TRAINING FOR ALCOHOLICS
STASIEWICZ, PAUL R Principal Investigator
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DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Situations involving negative affect account for nearly half of all relapses to alcohol use among men and women engaged in alcohol treatment. Despite the key role of negative affect, there are currently no well-developed, empirically-tested, efficacious treatments that specifically attempt to reduce the impact of negative affect on relapse to alcohol use among alcohol dependent men and women. In the present study (submitted in response to the Program Announcement [PA 03-066] 'Behavioral Therapies Development Program'), we propose to develop and pilot test a clinical intervention that addresses the problem of negative affect as it relates to alcohol use and alcohol relapse. The goal of this project is to develop and test an intervention designed to assist individuals enrolled in alcohol treatment in regulating and coping with negative affective episodes that threaten relapse to alcohol use. In Phase 1 of the project (i.e., manual development phase), we will develop and refine a 12-session treatment manual for conducting Affect Regulation Training (ART), which will be delivered concurrent with a standard 12-session Treatment as Usual (TAU) for alcohol dependent men and women. During Phase 2 (i.e., pilot study), we will conduct a pilot study in which the outcomes of individuals participating in TAU + ART will be compared to individuals who receive TAU plus a Health and Lifestyle supplement (TAU + HLS). The development of a treatment enhancement intervention (i.e., ART) to address the problem of negative affect among alcoholics in treatment is consistent with the stated aims of the Program Announcement, which notes that an appropriate Stage 1 activity would be a 'therapeutic intervention that can be added to enhance an existing behavioral therapy.' The long-term objective of this line of research is to make available to clinicians a brief, effective affect regulation intervention that can be added to enhance existing empirically-supported treatments for alcohol dependence.