Results of an intervention with family members of alcohol misusers in an indigenous region of Mexico

First published: 10 May 2019 | Last updated: 20 May 2019

The effectiveness of a model of primary care intervention for persons who are affected by alcohol use of a family member, which was shown to be cost-effective.  It focuses on indigenous communities in Mexico, which are vulnerable and difficult to gain access to.  In these communities alcohol abuse is common among men, and has serious consequences for the physical and mental health of their families.

The aim of the project was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of an intervention to support women in an indigenous community with family members who abuse alcohol.

The five-step model was the methodology used.  Two groups of 30 women each, an experimental and a control group, were formed by self-selection from an indigenous community.  Effectiveness was evaluated before and after the intervention through psychological, physical, and depressive symptomatology, and subjects’ coping strategies.  Indicators were developed to evaluate the cost of the intervention.

Physical, psychological, and depressive symptoms were considerably reduced in the intervention group, and subjects found healthier, less stressful ways of coping with their situations.  In contrast, after five months, symptomatology of the control group worsened.  Cost per patient was USD $80.

The intervention was an excellent resource for supporting indigenous women facing the challenge of living with an alcohol abuser.  They overcame sociocultural challenges of machismo that prevent women from discussing family problems with strangers.  Application of the intervention is recommended in similar communities.


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Dr Guillermina Natera