About the Smart Women Smart Choices
Program for Women
The Smart Women Smart Choices program is a guided self-change program for woman in
Minnesota between the ages of 18 and 24 who are concerned about the effects of drinking
on their lives.
What are the goals of the
Reducing women’s drinking to safer levels
or improving their effective use of
The goals of the program are to
birth control, including condoms can
decrease dangerous drinking and
increase effective birth control use significantly reduce their risks.
so women can avoid unwanted sex,
sexually transmitted infections,
unintended pregnancy, alcohol exposed pregnancy and other health and safety risks.
The program helps women explore their alcohol and birth control use because the decisions
women make about these two behaviors can have serious immediate and life-long
consequences. Women have the opportunity to decide to change in one of these two areas,
What are the research underpinnings for the Smart Women Smart Choices
The program is based on the research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention Project Balance and Project Choices studies and the work of research
scientists in the field of alcohol abuse and problem drinking.
The Smart Women Smart Choices program integrates the principles and practices
developed in the alcohol research and treatment field. The program methods and tools are
based on the keystones of behavior change theory including:
Stages of Change Theory - Prochaska and DiClemente
Motivational Interviewing for Behavioral Change-Miller & Rollnick
Guided Self-Change Treatment - Linda and Mark Sobell
Why was the program developed?
Researchers say that there are four times as many adults who are risk or problem
drinkers than seriously dependent drinkers. However, the current U.S. alcohol treatment
system is designed to serve dependent drinkers. Guided self-change programs provide a
more appropriate and practical alternative for risk drinkers who are willing to explore
What is “natural recovery” and “self change” for problem drinkers?
Drs. Linda and Mark Sobell have been pioneers in developing the theory and process for
guided self-change behavior programs for people with alcohol and other substance abuse
Their research indicates that risk drinker’s unique traits and strengths give them the
power to independently resolve their drinking problem. The Smart Women Smart Choices
program recognizes and builds on the strengths of women who risk drink and supports
their ability to change.
Who’s eligible for the program?
The program is designed for college students and college educated women in Minnesota
between the ages of 18-24 years of age who risk drink, but are not alcohol dependent.
However, women older than 24 who are at risk drink and are at risk for unintended
pregnancy may also benefit from the program. Women aged 25-45 years of age who
express an interest in changing their behavior and qualify for the program will be allowed
to register for the program.
Since most problem drinkers do not consider themselves alcoholics and many change their
drinking on their own, the Smart Women Smart Choices program offers women a way to
reduce their alcohol related risks through a self-guided change process.
How does the program work?
A woman may choose to contact the program educator who will send her independent, self-
study education materials as follows:
A self-screening survey and personalized feedback about her risks for an
alcohol exposed pregnancy and other alcohol related risks.
A workbook and other print resources that guide her through a series of steps
to decide to change either her drinking or contraception use and to develop a
personal plan for change.
Support and resources to make and maintain the change. She may contact a
program educator at any time for additional assistance.
She is successful if she changes either her drinking or contraceptive use,
thereby reducing her alcohol related risks.
What are the benefits to women?
The program’s multimedia delivery and independent self-change format offer
women a practical and attractive opportunity to explore behavior change at their
The program allows greater convenience and privacy than a face-to-face program.
Women living in more remote locations or have transportation issues may access the
program via a variety of media technologies including email, Internet and phone.
Women may choose to address their own drinking problems on their own.
If you know a woman who is concerned about her drinking and wants to try to change
on her own, tell her about the iPartySmarter.com website and the Smart Women Smart
Choices program at:
Smart Women Smart Choices Program
Minnesota Department of Health
Private toll free Phone: 1-888-702-9971
Monday-Friday, 9 am - 4 pm.
Institute of Medicine. 1990. Broadening the base of treatment for alcohol problems.
Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Sobell, L. C. et al. 2002. Promoting self-change with alcohol abusers: A Community Level
Mail Intervention Based On Natural Recovery Studies. (online)
Sobell, L. C., and Sobell, M. B. 1996. Problem drinkers: Guided self-change treatment. New
York: Guilford Publishing.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. July 2005. Brief interventions.
Alcohol Research and Health. 2004/2005. Focus on young adult drinking. Vol. 28, No. 4.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2006) Project Balance. (online)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2006) Project Choices. (online)
Chen, C . M., Dufour, M.C., and Yi, H. Adults ages 18–24 in the United States: results
from the 2001–2002 NESARC survey. (online)
Harvard School of Public Health. Ongoing. College Alcohol Study. (online)
McConnaughy, E. A. et al. 1980. Stages of change in psychotherapy: A follow-up
report. Psychotherapy 26:494-503.
Prochaska J. DiClemente C.C. 1999. Transtheoretical Model Stages Of Change.
Motivational Interviewing Training (MINT) website. (online)
Prochaska, J., DiClemente, C. C., and Norcross, J. C. 1992. In search of how people change:
Applications to addictive behavior. American Psychologist 47: 1102-1114.
Prochaska, J. Norcross, J. C., and DiClemente, C. C. 1994. Changing for good. New York:
Velasquez, M. M. et al. 2001. Group treatment for substance Abuse: A stages-of- change
therapy manual. New York: The Guilford Press.
Community and Family Health-Maternal Child Health
85 E. 7th Place, Suite 220- P.O. Box 64882- St. Paul, MN 55164-0882
If you need this document in another format call: TDD 651-201-5797 or 1-888-702-9971
The Smart Women Smart Choices program and iPartySmarter website are created and managed
by the Minnesota Department of Health with funds from the Department of Health and Human
Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.