Problem: Access to treatment for substance abuse disorders is limited, and practical strategies are needed to expand opportunities for individuals to receive effective interventions.
Approach: Can an automated, online program reach a hidden population of alcohol abusers who are not served by currently available treatment programs?
The majority of individuals with alcohol use disorders do not receive treatment. Practical strategies are needed to expand opportunities for individuals to receive effective interventions. An online program was designed to increase users’ motivation for change, and users of this program were compared to a traditional help-seeking population. Data was collected from 1,297 individuals with an alcohol use disorder. Compared to traditional help-seeking alcohol abusers, users of the internet program had less severe pathology, were younger, and more likely to be employed. The internet group included a larger percentage of women. Most importantly, the internet group scored lower on measures of motivation for change compared to the group in traditional treatment. Utilization of the strengths of the internet allowed a hidden population of alcohol abusers to be reached.
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