Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Emergency Medicine and BioMed Central.

Open Access Study protocol

The Social Health Intervention Project (SHIP): Protocol for a randomized controlled clinical trial assessing the effectiveness of a brief motivational intervention for problem drinking and intimate partner violence in an urban emergency department

Karin V Rhodes13*, Melissa Rodgers1, Marilyn Sommers2, Alexandra Hanlon2 and Paul Crits-Christoph1

Author Affiliations

1 Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA

2 School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA

3 Center for Emergency Care Policy Research, Department of Emergency Medicine 1st Floor Ravdin, HUP, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Emergency Medicine 2014, 14:10  doi:10.1186/1471-227X-14-10

Published: 18 April 2014

Abstract

Background

There is a strong reciprocal association between two highly prevalent public health problems: intimate partner violence and heavy drinking, both of which remain major sources of morbidity and mortality. Brief interventions in the Emergency Department setting have been found to be effective in reducing alcohol-related injury but neither classic intimate partner violence nor substance abuse interventions have adequately integrated assessment and treatment for these co-occurring conditions. The overall goal of this study is to determine whether a motivational intervention delivered at the time of an Emergency Department visit will reduce heavy drinking and improve the safety of women experiencing intimate partner violence.

Methods and design

We are completing data collection for a randomized controlled trial enrolling 600 female patients, age 18–64, presenting to one of two urban Emergency Departments, who self-disclose both problem drinking and intimate partner violence. Eligible patients are randomized to a brief manual-guided motivational intervention, and a phone booster at 10 days. The intervention, which is delivered by masters-level therapists during the Emergency Department visit, is recorded and monitored for fidelity. Primary outcomes are episodes of heavy drinking and incidents of intimate partner violence, assessed weekly by Interactive Voice Response System for 12 weeks and at 3, 6 and 12 months by interviewers blinded to group assignment. To identify the impact of assessment alone, we included a no-contact control group assessed only once at 3 months. Secondary outcomes include violence severity, changes in the Composite Abuse Scale and alcohol quantity/frequency, along with other health-related behaviors. The analysis will also explore the impact of likely mediators and moderators of the intervention.

Discussion

While screening and intervention for intimate partner violence is now recommended for women of child bearing age in health care settings, there is a need for rigorous evaluations of what works for whom. Upon completion, we will have high-quality evidence regarding the effectiveness of a low-intensity, brief motivational intervention, delivered by social workers in the Emergency Department setting, for decreasing episodes of heavy drinking and intimate partner violence. Ultimately, this is a model could be generalizable to other acute health care settings.

Trial Registration

ClinicalTrials.gov Registration Number: NCT01207258

Keywords:
Problem drinking; Motivational interviewing; Intimate partner violence; Emergency department; Screening brief; Intervention and; Referral to treatment