Developing a Brief Family-Involved Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorders

The overall aim of this treatment development study is to develop an efficacious, brief, family-involved treatment that can be used flexibly in on-going alcohol treatment settings to advance the dissemination of evidence-based treatment. The treatment to be developed and tested in this grant, "B-FIT" (Brief Family-Involved Treatment), builds on the PI's earlier NIAAA-supported efficacy trials and studies of mechanisms of change in Alcohol Behavioral Couple Therapy (ABCT) and is designed as an add-on to community-based substance abuse treatment-as-usual (TAU). B-FIT uses family involvement to enhance patient treatment adherence and outcomes by improving family functioning and increasing family-provided incentives for treatment adherence and abstinence. Study aims are carefully sequenced to develop the B-FIT approach and to judge its merits through a rigorous set of fidelity analyses, a small-scale clinical trial, and prospective tests of potential active ingredients, mediators, and moderators of treatment response. Specific aims are to: (1) modify ABCT to make it (a) appropriate for any concerned family member, (b) shorter, (c) focused on key mechanisms of change, (d) appropriate for use as part of an on-going alcohol treatment program, and (e) more efficacious by incorporating behavioral contracting procedures; (2) conduct a small-scale clinical trial of B-FIT; and (3) finalize materials for a larger-scale RCT. To accomplish study aims, a stage 1A successive cohort treatment development approach followed by a stage 1B small randomized clinical trial (RCT) will be completed. In the 1A stage, key interventions in B-FIT will be identified and integrated into the preliminary version of the treatment manual. Then, in the 1B stage B-FIT will be tested in an RCT to determine feasibility and preliminary efficacy. The project includes six phases: (1) focus groups with service providers, patients, and concerned family members (CFMs) of patients to obtain feedback about the B-FIT content and materials; (2) modification of the B-FIT protocol in response to the focus group feedback; (3) clinician training in the B-FIT protocol followed by pilot testing with six patients and their CFMs. Each clinician, patient, and CFM will be debriefed after the treatment to assess the B-FIT intervention. (4) Further modifications to the B-FIT materials in response to feedback from the pilot study as well as a second set of focus groups used to obtain feedback on the B-FIT written materials in terms of readability, relevance, and ease of use. (5) Structured didactic and experiential training for clinicians on the B-FIT treatment. (6) A small-scale, randomized clinical trial of TAU versus B-FIT + TAU will be conducted with 60 ASAP patients and their CFMs to (a) test the feasibility of B-FIT and impact on patient treatment retention, (b) obtain effect size estimates for pre-post changes in drinking, CFM, and family functioning; (c) assess therapist fidelity; (d) measure hypothesized active ingredients in the treatment; and (e) conduct initial moderator analyses. In parallel with phases 1-5 all measures and study procedures will be finalized. Three month follow-up data will be collected as part of the clinical trial.