Relapse precipitants and behavioral marital therapy

Stephen A. Maisto, James R. McKay, Timothy J. O'farrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The major purpose of this study was to provide descriptive data on the first relapse episodes and reasons for terminating relapses of subjects who completed a course of behavioral marital therapy (BMT) for alcoholism. Another aim of the study was to compare the relapse episodes and relapse terminations of subjects who received BMT with or without additional relapse prevention (RP) treatment for one year. The subjects were selected from a sample of 74 men who began an outpatient Department of Veterans Affairs BMT program. These men were evaluated pre- and post-BMT, and at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after completing BMT. A total of 31 subjects relapsed at least once after they began BMT. The data showed that these men tended to report more than one situational or personal precipitant of their first relapses. Similarly, they tended to report more than one reason for ending their relapse episodes. Comparison of the subjects assigned to the two RP conditions revealed an equal number (12) of relapse episodes, but RP subjects' relapses tended to last fewer days than did no-RP subjects'. The consistency of these findings with previous research on cognitive-behavioral models of relapse and the implications of these findings for the concept of high-risk situation, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-393
Number of pages11
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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