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Online support for partners of alcoholics shows promise

March 10, 2015
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Access to an online and interactive support program led to better coping skills for women with alcoholic spouses, a study published in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors reports.

Investigators at the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions developed the self-paced program and tested it with a group of nearly 100 women who were living with a partner with alcoholism. This population typically faces numerous barriers to support, from limited insurance coverage to family turmoil to fear of retribution.

The online program, which is not yet available to the public, features certified counselor coaches (who can connect with participants via computer or telephone), narrated instruction, and video dramatizations of how to address problems related to a partner's drinking. Robert G. Rychtarik, PhD, senior research scientist at the institute, said that users of the program experienced less depression and anger compared with those who did not participate. The institute is seeking additional funding for a larger evaluation of the program and where ideally it should be delivered.

“The program's goals are to help women focus on their own needs, reduce stress and talk to their partners in a more effective way,” Rychtarik said in a news release from the university.

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