United Kingdom Alcohol Treatment Trial (UKATT): hypotheses, design and methods

UKATT Research Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The United Kingdom Alcohol Treatment Trial (UKATT) is intended to be the largest trial of treatment for alcohol problems ever conducted in the UK. UKATT is a multicentre, randomized, controlled trial with blind assessment, representing a collaboration between psychiatry, clinical psychology, biostatistics, and health economics. This article sets out, in advance of data analysis, the theoretical background of the trial and its hypotheses, design, and methods. A projected total of 720 clients attending specialist services for treatment of alcohol problems will be randomized to Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) or to Social Behaviour and Network Therapy (SBNT), a novel treatment developed for the trial with strong support from theory and research. The trial will test two main hypotheses, expressed in null form as: (1) less intensive, motivationally based treatment (MET) is as effective as more intensive, socially based treatment (SBNT); (2) more intensive, socially based treatment (SBNT) is as cost-effective as less intensive, motivationally based treatment (MET). A number of subsidiary hypotheses regarding client-treatment interactions and therapist effects will also be tested. The article describes general features of the trial that investigators considered desirable, namely that it should: (1) be a pragmatic, rather than an explanatory, trial; (2) be an effectiveness trial based on "real-world" conditions of treatment delivery; (3) incorporate high standards of training, supervision and quality control of treatment delivery; (4) pay close attention to treatment process as well as treatment outcome; (5) build economic evaluation into the design at the outset. First results from UKATT are expected in 2002 and the main results in 2003.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-21
Number of pages11
JournalAlcohol and Alcoholism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcoholism
  • Humans
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Social Environment
  • United Kingdom
  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial


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