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Key Findings

The CHESS module developed under this grant, called "Living with Substance Abuse," was developed with the help of expert and consumer data. Its value was greatly enhanced by the participation of those who shared their personal experiences with substance abuse. Through surveys, participants rated the importance of issues typically faced by families of substance abusers. The program focuses on the development and theme areas rated as most important by respondents, and included different material for parents and partners.


The principle objectives for this project were to develop and pilot test a computer-based system of comprehensive integrated services to help parents and partners of alcohol abusers cope more effectively with problems arising form the alcohol abuse. Specifically, this project:

  1. Completed an in-depth assessment of the needs of parents and partners of alcohol abusers, including information, referral, skills, social support and decision support needs;
  2. Made modifications in structure and content that will tailor an already-existing computer-based support system (CHESS) to the needs of the parents and partners of alcohol abusers; and
  3. Conducted field tests to evaluate the effects of providing CHESS to parents and partners of alcohol abusers.


The first two project objectives received the bulk of the focus in the first year of the grant, and the last was the focus of the final months. CHESS (Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support Systems), is a computer-based system designed to remove or reduce barriers to the information, support, and decision-making assistance needed by people facing health-related crisis. These barriers include distance, education, finances, ability to act under stress, and concern for confidentiality or anonymity. CHESS, used in the home, provides information and support that is convenient, comprehensible, timely, non-threatening, anonymous, and user-controlled. It identifies the needs of parents and the needs of partners of substance abusers.

Funding Period:
January - September, 1996
Principal Investigators:
David Gustafson Sr., Ph.D