As the largest clinical treatment trial conducted with alcoholics, Project MATCH generated an extensive and rich data set, which in turn spawned a considerable number of publications. Highlighted on this web page are major publications authored by Project MATCH investigators and research personnel.

Additional MATCH-Related Commentary and Summaries

Books and Monographs

Treatment Matching in Alcoholism. Babor, T.F. & Del Boca, F.K. (Eds.) 2003.

A review of the book by John W. Finney, Ph.D. (HSR&D Centre for Health Evaluation, Menlo Park, California) appeared in Addiction, 98, 1637-1638.

Project MATCH Monograph Series, Vol 1-8. Various Authors.

Special Issues

Alcoholism treatment matching research: Methodological and clinical approaches. Donovan, D.M. & Mattson, M.E. (Eds). 1994.

Journal Articles

A bibliographic listing of Project MATCH journal articles authored by investigators and research personnel from 1991 to 2003.

Principal Publications

The results of the Project MATCH main findings are published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol.

Project Match Research Group. (1997). Matching alcoholism treatments to client heterogeneity: Project MATCH Posttreatment drinking outcomes. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 58(1), 7-29.

Abstract. Studied the benefits of matching alcohol-dependent clients to the Cognitive Behavioral Coping Skills Therapy, Motivational Enhancement Therapy, or 12-Step Facilitation Therapy with reference to various client attributes (CLAs). Two parallel but independent clinical trials were conducted, one with 952 alcohol-dependent Ss in outpatient therapy (mean age 38.9 yrs) and one with 774 Ss taking aftercare therapy (mean age 41.9 yrs) following three-month inpatient or day hospital treatment. Results show sustained improvement in drinking frequency and severity from pretreatment to one-year post treatment with little difference across treatments for both groups. Findings suggest psychiatric severity should be considered when assigning clients to outpatient therapies. The lack of other robust matching effects suggests that providers need not take these CLAs into account when triaging clients to one or the other of these three individually delivered treatment approaches, despite their different treatment philosophies.

Secondary Matching Hypotheses

The results of analyses testing the trial’s secondary matching hypotheses were published in Addiction.

Project MATCH Research Group. (1997). Project MATCH secondary a priori hypotheses. Addiction, 92(12), 1671-1698.

Abstract. Aims. (1) To assess the benefits of matching alcohol dependent clients to three treatments, based upon a priori hypotheses involving 11 client attributes; (2) to discuss the implications of these findings and of matching hypotheses previously reported from Project MATCH. Setting and participants. (1) Clients receiving outpatient therapy (N=952; 72% male); (2) clients receiving aftercare therapy following inpatient or day hospital treatment (N=774; 80% male). Intervention: Clients were randomly assigned to one of three 12-week, manual-guided, individual treatments: Cognitive Behavioral Coping Skills Therapy (CBT), Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) or Twelve-Step Facilitation Therapy (TSF). Design. Two parallel but independent randomized clinical trials were conducted, one with outpatients, one with aftercare clients. Participants were monitored over 15 months including a one-year post-treatment period. Individual differences in response to treatment were modeled as a latent growth process and evaluated for 17 contrasts specified a priori. Outcome measures were percentage of days abstinent and drinks per drinking day. Findings: Two a priori contrasts demonstrated significant post-treatment attribute by treatment interactions: (1) outpatients high in anger and treated in MET had better post-treatment drinking than in CBT; (2) aftercare clients high in alcohol dependence had better post-treatment outcomes in TSF; low dependence clients did better in CBT. Other matching effects varied over time, while still other interactions were opposite that predicted. Conclusions: (1) Anger and dependence should be considered when assigning clients to these three treatments; (2) considered together with the results of the primary hypotheses, matching effects contrasting these psychotherapies are not robust. Possible explanations include: (a) among the client variables and treatments tested, matching may not be an important factor in determining client outcomes; (b) design issues limited the robustness of effects; and (c) a more fully specified theory of matching is necessary to account for the complexity of the results.

Three Year Follow-up

The results of the three-year follow-up of Project MATCH participants has been published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Project MATCH Research Group. (1998). Matching alcoholism treatments to client heterogeneity: Project MATCH three-year drinking outcomes. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 22(6), 1300-1311.

Abstract. Reports three-yr outcomes for 952 clients who had been treated in the five outpatient sites of Project MATCH, a multisite clinical trial designed to test a priori client treatment matching hypotheses. With regard to the matching effects, client anger demonstrated the most consistent interaction in the trial, with significant matching effects evident at both the one-year and three-year follow-ups. As predicted, clients high in anger fared better in Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) than in the other two MATCH treatments: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Twelve-Step Facilitation (TSF). Among Ss in the highest 3rd of the anger variable, clients treated in MET had on average 76.4 percent abstinent days, whereas their counterparts in the other two treatments (CBT and TSF) had on average 66 percent abstinent days. Conversely, clients low in anger performed better after treatment in CBT and TSF than in MET. With regard to overall outcomes, the reductions in drinking that were observed in the first year after treatment were sustained over the three-year follow-up period. As in the one-year follow-up, there were few differences among the three treatments, although TSF continued to show a possible slight advantage.