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25-07-2016 | ORIGINAL PAPER | Uitgave 1/2017

Mindfulness 1/2017

Urge Surfing as Aftercare in Adolescent Alcohol Use: a Randomized Control Trial

Mindfulness > Uitgave 1/2017
Jennifer S. Harris, David G. Stewart, Brayden C. Stanton


High-quantity and frequency alcohol use is associated with a variety of negative consequences and outcomes. While treatment approaches that emphasize effective coping and self-efficacy have yielded favorable abstinence and reduction rates, relapse continues to be prevalent in this population. A common predictor of adolescent relapse is high-intensity urges to use alcohol. Therefore, it is important to identify effective coping skills that combat alcohol-related urges in order to improve the effectiveness of alcohol treatments. Urge surfing is a mindfulness skill that promotes attending to cravings and urges in high-risk situations rather than avoiding them. Urge surfing is supported as an effective coping skill for adult alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use; however, research on urge surfing with adolescent alcohol users is limited. This study investigated the utility of adding urge surfing as aftercare following a school-based intervention. Hypotheses predicted that urge surfing provided as aftercare to a standard alcohol treatment intervention would continue to improve alcohol use outcomes (e.g., reduced frequency and quantity) as compared to waitlist control. Sixty-seven adolescents (aged 14–18; M = 16.34, SD = 1.07) were randomly assigned to waitlist control (n = 31) or 4 weeks of urge surfing (n = 36). Participants represented a variety of ethnic backgrounds including Caucasian (64 %), Asian/Pacific Islander (12 %), Hispanic (9 %), multiethnic (9 %), African American (4 %), and Native American (2 %). Adolescents completed pre- and posttest assessments for alcohol quantity and frequency. Repeated measures design evaluated differences for alcohol use outcomes. Results indicated significant treatment effects for alcohol frequency, Wilks’  = .95, F(1, 52) = 3.00, p = .08, multivariate η 2 = .06 and quantity, Wilks’  = .95, F(1, 52) = 2.67, p = .10, multivariate η 2 = .05. Results suggest that urge surfing improved effectiveness of alcohol use outcomes when provided as aftercare.

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