OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between posttreatment motivation to change as measured by the Readiness to Change Questionnaire Treatment Version and drinking outcomes 9 months after the conclusion of treatment for alcohol problems.
METHOD: Data from 392 participants in the United Kingdom Alcohol Treatment Trial were used to fit structural equation models investigating relationships between motivation to change pre- and posttreatment and 5 outcomes 9 months later. The models included pathways through changes in drinking behavior during treatment and adjustment for sociodemographic information.
RESULTS: Greater posttreatment motivation (being in action vs. preaction) was associated with 3 times higher odds of the most stringent definition of positive outcome (being abstinent or entirely a nonproblem drinker) 9 months later (odds ratio = 3.10, 95% confidence interval [1.83, 5.25]). A smaller indirect effect of pretreatment motivation on this outcome was seen from pathways through drinking behavior during treatment and posttreatment motivation (probit coefficient = 0.08, 95% confidence interval [0.03, 0.14]). A similar pattern of results was seen for other outcomes evaluated.
CONCLUSION: Posttreatment motivation to change has hitherto been little studied and is identified here as a clearly important predictor of longer term treatment outcome.