Self-Reports on Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse: Liver Transplant Patients versus Rehabilitation Therapy Patients
Self-report measures often underestimate the severity of symptoms of alcohol abuse. It is generally supposed that patients who abuse alcohol tend to minimize their drinking behavior. However, the validity of self-reports also can be influenced by external factors such as the setting.
To investigate how the setting influences self-reporting on symptoms of alcohol abuse in patients with alcoholic liver disease. Design, Setting and Participants—
Cross-sectional study in patients before liver transplant (n = 40) and patients in rehabilitation therapy (n = 44).
Main Outcome Measure—
Scores on the Munich Alcoholism Test, which consists of a self-report-scale and an expert-rating scale.
The discrepancy in scores on the self-report scale and the expert-rating scale differed significantly between patients before liver transplant and patients in rehabilitation therapy. Furthermore, patients in the rehabilitation therapy group reported higher alcoholism scores on the self-report questionnaire than did patients before liver transplant, but the groups did not differ in the expert evaluation value.
The transplant setting seems to evoke minimizing in self-reports in patients with alcohol abuse. Minimizing or denying symptoms of alcohol abuse does not seem to be a specific characteristic of persons with alcohol abuse, as it is also caused by the circumstances. In the transplant setting, more attention should be given to the psychologically difficult situation for patients with potential alcohol abuse. Implementation of psychoeducational interventions in the treatment process before transplant could be a first step toward reaching this goal.