Reducing drug and alcohol use and improving well-being for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians using the Community Reinforcement Approach: A feasibility and acceptability study


There is a lack of evidence of effective and appropriate drug and alcohol treatment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This paper contributes to addressing the evidence gap by examining the feasibility and acceptability and conducting a pre/post-evaluation of the Aboriginal-adapted Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA) delivered in New South Wales, Australia. Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal clients (n = 55) received tailored CRA delivery between March and November 2013. Compared to the original US version, tailored CRA had reduced technical language, reduced number of treatment sessions, and the addition of group delivery option. An Australian training manual with local case studies was developed. Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Test (ASSIST), Kessler-5 (K-5) and the Growth Empowerment Measure were used. 58% of participants were followed-up at 3 months. Tailored CRA was feasible to deliver in a rural, community-based health setting, and rated by clients as highly effective and acceptable. CRA was associated with statistically significant reductions in the use of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, amphetamine and over the counter medication, and levels of psychological distress, and an increase in levels of empowerment for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal clients. This study provides evidence for the feasibility and acceptability of an Aboriginal-adapted psychological intervention addressing drug, alcohol and mental health outcomes. © 2019 International Union of Psychological Science

International Journal of Psychology