Describe an experiment, which influenced your thinking about alcoholism.
I found the experiment presented for "matching" intrigued me the most. This commonsense idea resides on the principal of pairing drinkers with the program best suited to them. McLachlan (1974) presented a study that correlated drinkers performance at follow up to be affected by the style of treatment and the treatment they received. The matches or mismatches were occurring naturally, no intension to match clients with therapists was done. .
The experiment consisted of 94% of alcoholics that received treatment. They were extensively interviewed twelve to sixteen months after completion of the program. A four point Conceptual Level was assessed.
1. Poorly socialized, egocentric, impulsive, cognitively simple.
2. Dependant and compliant.
3. Independent, questioning, self-assertive.
4. Interdependent, empathetic, and cognitively complex.
The therapists were assessed in the same fashion. Follow up treatment was also rated- high or low in structure. It was noted on the amount of contact and counseling completed after treatment ceased. An analysis of this data showed how recovery rates were correlated to matching or mismatching of drinkers Conceptual Level to the therapists Conceptual Level as well as the structuredness of the aftercare.
Drinker and therapist matched 70%.
Drinker and therapist mismatched 50%.
Drinker and setting matched 71%.
Drinker and setting mismatched 49%.
Drinker, therapist, and setting matched 77%.
Drinker, therapist, and setting mismatched 38%.
The data was statistically significant, showing "matching" increases recovery rates.
The data presented in this experiment increased my belief for Fingarette's need to fully appreciate the heavy drinker as an individual. By understanding the background and lifestyle of the drinker we are able to better treat them. I believe we can increase the success rate by improving our measuring techniques and providing the drinker with a therapist who can understand their motives and lifestyle.