The objectives of the Beeper Project are: (a) to identify the social, affective and cognitive factors associated with continued abstinence or a return to alcohol use within the first 90 days following inpatient treatment; and (b) to explore the utility of the Experience Sampling Method (ESM) as a means of modelling the processes associated with relapse or recovery. To achieve these objectives, 661 individuals were tested at admission to an inpatient treatment program for alcohol/substance abuse. Baseline information was obtained in five broad, theoretically-grounded domains: demographics, behavioral and pattern of substance use measures, affective indicators, social- environmental variables, and cognitive assessments. During treatment, these patients were solicited for the post-treatment phase of the study, and 202 individuals (the core study sample) volunteered to participate. Upon discharge, each of the 202 subjects was assigned to one of three levels of ESM -- continuous, intermittent, or none -- and followed for 90 days. During this time, subjects in the continuous and intermittent ESM groups completed four randomly-stimulated self-assessments per day. In addition, they were administered an extensive set of repeated measures at two-week intervals throughout the 90-day period.
The specific aims of the Beeper Project are to: (1) track cognitions, affect and events, including relapse episodes, in great detail over the course of the first three months after discharge from treatment; (2) test the influence of cognitive and psychosocial factors on relapse episodes, both within and between subjects; (3) assess interrelations among a broad spectrum of measures and determine the relative contribution of sets of variables to the prediction of post-treatment outcome; (4) determine if relapse can be predicted from self-efficacy data; and, (5) examine the effect of pre-existing psychopathology on post- treatment outcome. The intention of the Beeper Project is to fill a gap in knowledge by thoroughly documenting the process of recovery. Although ESM was intended primarily as a data collection technique, the existence of different levels of self-monitoring in the study groups provides the opportunity to evaluate the impact of self- monitoring on the recovery process; if there are differential recovery rates for the ESM groups, we can conclude that ESM holds promise as an innovative adjunct to treatment.