Reductions in craving and negative affect predict 3-month post-discharge alcohol use following residential treatment
Craving and negative affect are two factors consistently included in prominent models of relapse. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between craving, negative affect and multiple alcohol use outcomes in participants undergoing residential treatment for an alcohol use disorder. One hundred and seventy-one participants from eight Salvation Army residential drug and alcohol treatment programs were administered measures at treatment entry and 3-months post-discharge follow-up. Regression analyses indicated that craving and negative affect measured at baseline did not predict relapse, or the severity of alcohol problems at 3-months post-discharge. The most consistent finding was that change in craving predicted both alcohol use outcomes, while change in negative affect only predicted the severity of alcohol problems. This study provides preliminary evidence that effective management of craving for alcohol use may facilitate successful treatment completion and long term abstinence.