Results of a cluster randomised controlled trial to reduce risky use of alcohol, alcohol-related HIV risks and improve help-seeking behaviour among safety and security employees in the Western Cape, South Africa

Journal Article


Journal Title

Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy

Journal ISSN
Volume Title

BioMed Central


University of Cape Town

Objective: To test the effectiveness of a programme aimed at reducing the risky use of alcohol and alcohol-related HIV risk and increase help-seeking behaviour among a sample of municipal employees in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. Methods: A clustered randomised controlled trial was conducted in 2011–2012 among 325 employees. The eight hour intervention, Team Awareness (TA), addressing behavioural risk among employees was administered to 168 employees in the intervention arm and the 157 employees in the control arm who received a one-hour wellness talk. Results: The results show that TA had the greatest impact on risky drinking practices and hangover effects. There was a significant group × time interaction (F (1, 117) = 25.16, p < 0.0001) with participants in the intervention condition reducing number of days on which they engaged in binge drinking. There was also a significant time effect with participants in the intervention condition reducing the likelihood of going to work with a hangover (F (1,117) = 4.10, p = 0.045). No reduction in HIV-related risk behaviours were found. Conclusions: This intervention study was able to demonstrate a modest but significant reduction in risky drinking practices and hangover effects. This provides encouraging evidence for the effectiveness of interventions that address risky use of alcohol among employed persons, further providing a launch pad for strengthening and replicating future RCT studies on workplace prevention, especially in developing country settings. Clinical Trial Registration Number: Pan-African Control Trial Registry (201301000458308) .