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Monday, February 27, 2012

Characteristics of Alcoholics Attending ‘Clubs of Alcoholics in Treatment’ in Italy: A National Survey

To provide an overview of alcoholics attending a socio-ecological treatment programme [Clubs of Alcoholics in Treatment (CATs)] and to identify factors associated with abstinence and self-perceived improvement in lifestyle.

A national sample of 7522 subjects (76% males and 24% females, mean age 53.2 ± 11.3 years ± SD) attending CATs was evaluated using a self-administered questionnaire completed at a weekly meeting in 2006.

Of participants, >70% reported no alcohol use in the last year and around 90% indicated no use in the previous month, whereas 4% of them declared no alcohol use before club attendance. Abstinence and lifestyle improvement were related positively to the number of years of club attendance but negatively to the presence of other problems in addition to the alcohol-related one. Moreover, being older or female was associated with more likely achievement of abstinence as well as with the perception of a better lifestyle. Finally, attending the club with one or more family members was associated with achievement of better lifestyle.

These data provide an overview of alcoholics attending the CAT programme and are a first step toward developing a surveillance system. In addition, on the basis of this preliminary picture further research (notably longitudinal studies) can be planned considering this method and its effectiveness.

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