Teaching medical students alcohol intervention skills: Results of a controlled trial

R. A. Walsh, R. W. Sanson-Fisher, A. Low, A. M. Roche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. To assess the relative effectiveness of videotape feedback and lecture methods for teaching alcohol brief intervention skills. Design. In a controlled trial, two student blocks received a manual, lecture and demonstration about the principles and practice of brief alcohol intervention. In addition, experimental students made a 20-min videotape and participated in a 1.5-h small group feedback session. Prior to and after training, all students completed questionnaires and videotaped interviews with simulated patients. Setting. Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University of Newcastle, Australia. Subjects. Final-year medical students. Results. Levels of alcohol-related knowledge, attitudes and interactional skills as well as general interactional skills were significantly improved after teaching. Alcohol-related interactional skills that were unsatisfactory at pretest reached satisfactory standards at post-test. An intergroup comparison of the improvement between pre- and post-teaching scores indicated that there was no significant difference in the effectiveness of the two methods. Conclusions. Training can improve medical student performance in alcohol intervention. Further research is required to examine the relative effectiveness of different teaching methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-565
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Education
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcoholism, therapy
  • Controlled clinical trials
  • Counselling
  • Education, medical, undergraduate, methods
  • Evaluation studies
  • Feedback
  • Questionnaires
  • Teaching, methods
  • Videotape recording


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