Barriers to and Facilitators of Delivering Brief Tobacco and Alcohol Interventions in Integrated Primary Care Settings

Jennifer M. Wray, Jennifer S. Funderburk, Julie C. Gass, Stephen A. Maisto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: Tobacco and excessive alcohol use are 2 of the top 3 preventable causes of death in the United States, yet most patients using these substances do not pursue treatment. Most patients do visit their primary care provider (PCP) annually, but PCPs report that they are not very effective in addressing behavior change with patients. Brief interventions for alcohol and tobacco use are effective and can be delivered by behavioral health providers (BHPs) embedded in the primary care setting. However, BHPs do not report frequent use of these interventions. The aim of the current study was to conduct the first examination of barriers to and facilitators of implementing brief interventions for at-risk drinking and tobacco use among integrated BHPs. Methods: BHPs (N = 285) working in a primary care setting for at least 6 months with at least 10% effort allocated to clinical activities were recruited through professional listservs (August-September 2016) and completed an online survey that assessed barriers to and facilitators of delivering brief tobacco and alcohol interventions in routine clinical practice. Results: BHPs were primarily psychologists (48%) and social workers (33%) with cognitive-behavioral orientation (51%). The primary barriers to addressing tobacco use and at-risk drinking reported by BHPs was the perception that patients did not want to discuss or did not want to change these behaviors. The primary facilitators of addressing tobacco use and at-risk drinking were patients identifying cessation or reduction as a treatment goal, positive provider-patient relationship, and receiving referrals specifically for tobacco or alcohol use. Conclusions: Clinicians, researchers, and administrators should focus on strategies to increase the regularity with which BHPs assess and provide intervention for smoking and alcohol use in the context of other primary presenting concerns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalThe primary care companion for CNS disorders
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 14 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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