Delivery of alcohol brief interventions in community-based youth work settings: exploring feasibility and acceptability in a qualitative study

Martine Stead* (Corresponding Author), Tessa Parkes, Avril Nicoll, Sarah Wilson, Cheryl Burgess, Douglas Eadie, Niamh Fitzgerald, Jennifer McKell, Garth Reid, Ruth Jepson, John McAteer, Linda Bauld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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Alcohol Brief Interventions (ABIs) are increasingly being delivered in community-based youth work settings. However, little attention has been paid to how they are being implemented in such settings, or to their feasibility and acceptability for practitioners or young people. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the context, feasibility and acceptability of ABI delivery in youth work projects across Scotland.

Individual, paired and group interviews were conducted with practitioners and young people in nine community projects that were either involved in the delivery of ABIs or were considering doing so in the near future. A thematic analysis approach was used to analyse data.

ABIs were delivered in a diverse range of youth work settings including the side of football pitches, on the streets as part of outreach activities, and in sexual health drop-in centres for young people. ABI delivery differed in a number of important ways from delivery in other health settings such as primary care, particularly in being largely opportunistic and flexible in nature. ABIs were adapted by staff in line with the ethos of their project and their own roles, and to avoid jeopardising their relationships with young people. Young people reacted positively to the idea of having conversations about alcohol with youth project workers, but confirmed practitioners’ views about the importance of these conversations taking place in the context of an existing trusting relationship.

ABIs were feasible in a range of youth work settings with some adaptation. Acceptability to staff was strongly influenced by perceived benefits, and the extent to which ABIs fitted with their project’s ethos. Young people were largely comfortable with such conversations. Future implementation efforts should be based on detailed consideration of current practice and contexts. Flexible models of delivery, where professional judgement can be exercised over defined but adaptable content, may be better appreciated by staff and encourage further development of ABI activity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number357
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2017


  • Alcohol
  • Brief intervention
  • Implementation
  • Young people
  • Youth work
  • Brief advice
  • Qualitative research
  • Feasibility
  • Acceptability


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