Study leader LaTrice Montgomery, a doctoral student in the University of Cincinnati, investigated the effectiveness of Motivational Enhancement Therapy compared with the standard Counseling as Usual treatment -- two clinical approaches to treating substance abuse -- among African-Americans.
MET is designed to address the ambivalence surrounding substance abuse treatment, whether abusers are at the stage where they're ready to live a substance-free life or whether they're against any treatment, Montgomery said.
"The idea of Motivational Enhancement Therapy is for counselors to help patients build motivation and strengthen commitment to behavior change," Montgomery said in a statement. "One technique is the use of decisional balance exercises which help patients examine the pros and cons of substance use. A patient discusses what he or she considers the 'pros' of substance use, such as drinking alcohol to reduce anxiety, but despite its ability to help reduce the patient's anxiety, the patient might also acknowledge that heavy drinking negatively influences their interpersonal relationships."
The study, published in the journal Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, found higher retention rates among women in MET than in Counseling as Usual, while men in MET and Counseling as Usual did not differ in retention. Men and women in MET reported more days per week of substance abuse than participants in Counseling as Usual.