College of Psychology: Faculty Articles


Alcoholics Treated by Individualized Behavior Therapy: One Year Treatment Outcome

Document Type


Publication Date



Alcohol Drinking, Alcoholism and Therapy, Behavior Therapy, Follow-Up Studies, Temperance, Male

Publication Title

Behaviour Research and Therapy








One-year treatment outcome results are reported for 70 male alcoholics who, while hospitalized at Patton State Hospital, served as subjects in an experiment evaluating ‘Individualized Behavior Therapy (IBT)’ techniques. Initially, subjects had been assigned to a controlled drinking or non-drinking (abstinence) treatment goal, and then were randomly assigned to either an experimental group receiving IBT or a control group receiving conventional state hospital treatment. One year follow-up results demonstrated that IBT treated subjects had functioned significantly better than control subjects. Dependent variable measures included daily drinking disposition, general emotional adjustment, vocational satisfaction, occupational status, driving status and an index of residential status and stability. The results support the view that some ‘alcoholics’ can acquire and maintain controlled drinking behavior over at least a 1-yr follow-up interval. The difficulties of designing and applying sophisticated follow-up procedures and measures are discussed.


This work was supported, in part, by Public Health Service Grants 1 RO1 MH 16547 and 1 R18 MH 23169. Portions of this paper, using preliminary data, were presented at the 80th Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1972. The authors express appreciation to Fred Samuels, Natalie Olsen, Robert Akamine and the numerous individuals and agencies who provided follow-up information.

Additional Comments

This publication has been reprinted in:

Franks, C.M. & Wilson, G.T. (Eds.). (1975) Annual review of behavior therapy, theory, and practice. New York: Bruner/Mazel, 605-631.

Ward, D.A. (Ed.). (1985). Alcoholism: Introduction to theory and treatment, Revised second edition, Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt, 410-429.

Ward, D.A. (Ed.). (1990). Alcoholism: Introduction to theory and treatment, 3rd Edition. Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt, 364-383.