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Study Design to Examine the Potential Role of Assessment Reactivity in Screening, Motivational Assessment, Referral and Treatment in Emergency Departments (SMART-ED) Protocol.

Addiction Science & Clinical Practice 2012;7:16. [doi: 10.1186/1940-0640-7-16]

Dennis M. Donovan, PhD (Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute, UW, PN Node), Michael P. Bogenschutz, MD (University of New Mexico, SW Node), Harold I. Perl, PhD (National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Alyssa A. Forcehimes, PhD (University of New Mexico, SW Node), Bryon H. Adinoff, MD (UT Southwestern Medical Center, TX Node), Raul N. Mandler, MD (National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)), Neal L. Oden, PhD (Data & Statistics Center, EMMES), N. Robrina Walker, PhD (UT Southwestern Medical Center, TX Node).

Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) approaches to reducing hazardous alcohol and illicit drug use have been assessed in a variety of health care settings, including primary care, trauma centers, and emergency departments. A major methodological concern in these trials, however, is "assessment reactivity," the hypothesized impact of intensive research assessments to reduce alcohol and drug use and thus mask the purported efficacy of the interventions under scrutiny. Thus, it has been recommended that prospective research designs take assessment reactivity into account. This article describes the design of the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (CTN) protocol, "Screening, Motivational Assessment, Referral, and Treatment in Emergency Departments" (SMART-ED, CTN-0047), which addresses the potential bias of assessment reactivity using a 3-arm design. Following an initial brief screening, individuals identified as positive cases are consented, asked to provide demographic and locator information, and randomly assigned to one of the three conditions: minimal screening only, screening + assessment, or screening + assessment + brief intervention. In a two-stage process, the randomization procedure first reveals whether or not the participant will bein the minimal-screening-only condition. Participants in the other two groups receive a more extensive baseline assessment before it is revealed whether they have been randomized to also receive a brief intervention. Comparing the screening only and screening + assessment conditions will allow determination of the incremental effect of assessment reactivity.

Assessment reactivity is a potential source of bias that may reduce and/or lead to an underestimation of the purported effectiveness of brief interventions. From a methodological perspective, it needs to be accounted for in research design. The SMART-ED design offers an approach to minimize assessment reactivity as a potential source of bias. Elucidating the role of assessment reactivity may offer insights into the mechanisms underlying SBIRT as well as suggest clinical options incorporating assessment reactivity as a treatment adjunct. (Article (Peer-Reviewed), PDF, English, 2012)

Keywords: Brief intervention | CTN protocol development | Emergency departments | Research design | Screening and assessment instruments | Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) | Addiction Science & Clinical Practice (journal)

Document No: 800, PMID: 21854285, PMCID: PMC3168577.

Submitted by Jack Blaine, PhD, NIDA, 9/4/2012.


Adinoff, Bryon H. mail
Bogenschutz, Michael P. mail
Donovan, Dennis M. mail
Fischer, Daniel mail
Forcehimes, Alyssa A. mail
Mandler, Raul N. mail
Oden, Neal L. mail
Perl, Harold I. mail
Walker, N. Robrina mail
NIDA-CTN-0047 www
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Pacific Northwest (Lead) search www
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Supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute.
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Updated 9/2012 --
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