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Health Team

E.R. program designed to curb teen alcohol use, violence

Posted August 3, 2010

For many teenagers in urban areas across the country, a hospital emergency department is the main point of medical care. They're often treated for injuries from violence or alcohol misuse.

A new study looked at program designed to change those behaviors and reduce ER visits.

In the emergency department of Hurley Hospital in Flint, Mich., researchers studied more than 3,300 teenage patients over a three-year period. They helped the teens learn how to decrease future violence and alcohol use.

One group had a brief intervention with a therapist. Another group participated in a computer intervention with audio and a third group just received a brochure.

"The therapist brief intervention (group) showed twice the reduction in peer violence, peer victimization and violence consequences than the control,” said Dr. Maureen A. Walton, of the University of Michigan.

The computer intervention alone decreased alcohol related problems like missing school and family problems six months after their emergency room visit, Walton said.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“The findings of this study suggest that a 30-minute, brief intervention can positively change these adolescents' behaviors,” Walton said.

Researchers hope this structured intervention can be replicated in other emergency departments around the country.

3 Comments

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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Aug 9, 2010

    If "a 30-minute, brief intervention can positively change these adolescents" behaviors', imagine what a good home and effective parenting could do.

  • timbo 2.0 Aug 5, 2010

    The researcher has a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Masters in Public Health. She is also a Professor at UofM, so she's no slouch.

    My guess is that you can't make any valid conclusions on the study based on this 1200 character story.

    However, the article indicates that they will attempt to replicate results in other studies. Sounds like solid science to me.

  • lrfarms27572 Aug 4, 2010

    The therapist brief intervention (group) showed twice the reduction in peer violence, peer victimization and violence consequences than the control....

    this statement is highly misleading. This could be from 2% to 4% or even worse. It all about the statistics.