Cross-lagged Panel Analysis of Alcoholics’ Anonymous Effects on Drinking







Video

Evaluation studies consistently report correlations between Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) participation and less drinking or abstinence. Randomization of alcoholics to AA or non-AA is impractical and difficult. Unfortunately, non-randomization studies are susceptible to artifacts due to endogeneity bias, where variables assumed to be exogenous (“independent variables”) may actually be endogenous (“dependent variables”). A common artifact is reverse causation, where reduced drinking leads to increased AA participation, the opposite of what is typically assumed. The presentation focuses on a secondary analysis of a national alcoholism treatment data set, Project MATCH, that consists of multi-wave data on AA participation and severity of drinking over a 15 month period. An autoregressive cross-lagged model was formulated and indicated the predominance of AA effects on reduction of drinking, not the reverse. The presentation will be accessible to evaluators without advanced statistical training.

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