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November 10, 2010

Volunteers needed for studies on substance abuse, domestic violence interventions

News and Information

Researchers at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work seek volunteers for two studies aimed at adults struggling with alcohol or other drug use and domestic abuse.


For the Warrior Check-Up study, UW researchers seek substance abusing active duty military men and women who are not in treatment for substance abuse. Rates of heavy drinking and other drug abuse are higher among military personnel than in the general population, and there are effective behavioral interventions, said Denise Walker, co-director of the Innovative Programs Research Group and research assistant professor at UW.


“While counseling can be effective, most people who are experiencing problems due to their substance use do not tend to voluntarily seek treatment,” Walker said. “And, military personnel in particular are more reluctant to seek treatment. Many of them tend to think that it would hurt their careers if it were discovered that they were in treatment for substance abuse.”


The researchers are evaluating how a brief telephone intervention with a counselor could help military personnel concerned about their use of alcohol, drugs or prescription medication. Volunteers in the Warrior Check-Up study will participate in four or five phone calls over the course of about seven months.


“The aim is to provide an anonymous or confidential experience in which soldiers feel safe to talk through their options for changing their substance use,” said Walker.

Volunteers receive up to $125. Individuals interested in the Warrior Check-Up should call 1-888-685-DUTY. The study is funded by the Department of Defense,


In a separate study — called the Men’s Domestic Abuse Check-Up — adult men concerned about how they treat their partners can get feedback and learn about options.

“The social stigma of domestic violence often prevents men from all walks of life from reaching out for help,” said Lyungai Mbilinyi, a UW School of Social Work research assistant professor and co-director of the Innovative Programs Research Group. “Some feel that they love their partner so much, and wonder why she says she’s afraid of him,” she added.


Mbilinyi and her research team are developing efficient and anonymous interventions that can be administered over the phone. In the Men’s Domestic Abuse Check-Up study, volunteers examine their thoughts and feelings about their behaviors toward their partners.


Participation includes about four phone calls and three online surveys over the course of five to six months. Volunteers can participate anonymously and receive up to $150 for their participation. Individuals interested in the Men’s Domestic Abuse Check-Up should call 1-800-MEN-1089. The study is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.


Both studies are free, private and non-judgmental. They’re being conducted by faculty and staff in the UW School of Social Work’s Innovative Programs Research Group.


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For more information, contact Walker at 206-543-7511 or ddwalker@u.washington.edu; Mbilinyi at 206-543-7511 or Lyungai@u.washington.edu.