Exploring the association between changes in partner behaviors, perceived service member drinking, and relationship quality: Secondary analysis of a web-based intervention for military partners.
Problematic drinking is a serious and persistent problem among U.S. military service members and veterans, who face barriers to seeking help and are less likely to seek help than the civilian population. One way to reach this population is through spouses or partners who are concerned about the service members' drinking (concerned partners [CPs]). CPs of military service members were recruited for a web-based intervention, Partners Connect, that aimed to improve patterns of communication about the service members' drinking. Participants were 234 CPs (95% female; 71% White; 89% married; average age 32 years) who completed a baseline survey, were randomized to a four-session web-based intervention or a waitlist control group, and completed a follow-up assessment 5 months later. Three measures reported by CPs assessed perceived partner drinking (drinks per week, highest number of drinks across a typical week, and frequency of drinking in the past month) and CP behaviors were assessed using the Significant-other Behavior Questionnaire (SBQ) and the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI-2). Results demonstrated that the intervention did not have a main effect on CP behaviors relative to control. However, changes in CP punishment of partner drinking and behaviors supporting sobriety were significantly associated with decreased perceived partner drinking and improved relationship quality over time. Furthermore, compared to the control group, to the extent that CPs in the treatment group reduced their negative behaviors, perceived partner drinking declined and relationship quality improved. The results reinforce the importance of considering CP behaviors when designing interventions to reduce drinking.
Trail, T.E., Osilla, K.C., Ridriguez, L.M., Pedersen, E.R. & Gore, K.L. (2019). Exploring the association between changes in partner behaviors, perceived service member drinking, and relationship quality: Secondary analysis of a web-based intervention for military partners. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 98, 66-72. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2019.01.002
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