Quick Visit in ER Can Prevent Teen Alcohol Violence

Teens that are seen in the emergency room may benefit from a quick visit from a therapist. That therapist can be a real live human or a computer that gives the teen advice about alcohol consumption. A new study shows that teens that had some kind of brief intervention were less likely to be involved in an alcohol-based violent act.

Maureen A. Walton of the University of Michigan led the study. Walton and her colleagues used information gathered from 726 teens that were seen in an ER in Flint, Michigan. The teens were between 14 and 18 years of age. Each teen was given a questionnaire asking about their alcohol use and aggression. A second group of teens was given a pamphlet discussing the risks of alcohol use and a list of community resources available to them. Some teens met with a therapist while others were asked to use a computer to receive information about alcohol usage.

Six months after the original consultation, the teens that met with a therapist or interacted with the computer were less likely to have alcohol related consequences than those who only received a brochure. The teens did not report a reduction in alcohol usage, but the reduction of consequences like fighting is significant.

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