Shorter and Proximal Timeline Followback Windows are Representative of Longer Posttreatment Functioning.
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors
Very little research has been conducted on what time window provides a representative picture of daily drinking. With respect to pretreatment drinking, one study that used the Timeline Followback (TLFB) with problem drinkers found that a 3-month window is generally representative of annual pretreatment drinking. The objective of the present study was to determine the shortest representative time window for reports of annual posttreatment drinking. A second objective was to determine which of two time windows, 90 days from the end of treatment or 90 days prior to the end of follow-up, was the most representative proxy for annual posttreatment drinking. TLFB reports from 467 problem drinkers who participated in a randomized controlled trial of a mail-based intervention were used in the present analysis. The results show that a 3-month posttreatment window (i.e., first 90 days after the intervention) is sufficiently representative (r = .94) of annual posttreatment drinking for problem drinkers (i.e., less severely dependent alcohol abusers). In addition, although there were no clinically significant differences in drinking behavior between the two 90-day posttreatment windows, the use of proximal windows (i.e., closer to the end of treatment) would minimize participant attrition. In addition, a 3-month versus 12-month TLFB follow-up time frame resulted in a much higher percentage of participants completing the full TLFB (89% vs. 71%). Further research is needed to determine if these findings will generalize to more severely dependent alcohol abusers.
Gioia, C. J.,
Sobell, L. C.,
Sobell, M. B.,
Simco, E. R.
(2012). Shorter and Proximal Timeline Followback Windows are Representative of Longer Posttreatment Functioning.. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 26(4), 880-887.
Available at: https://nsuworks.nova.edu/cps_facarticles/541