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Delivering personalized protective behavioral drinking strategies via a smartphone intervention: a pilot study

journal contribution
posted on 2019-08-01, 00:00 authored by Renee O'Donnell, Ben Richardson, Matthew Fuller-TyszkiewiczMatthew Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, Petra StaigerPetra Staiger
BACKGROUND: Smartphone-based interventions are a potentially effective way to minimize alcohol-related harm in young adult, non-dependent drinkers. This pilot study is the first to evaluate the benefits and feasibility of a personalized alcohol harm-minimization intervention delivered via smartphones. METHODS: Within a single-blind, randomized controlled design, 45 young adults were randomly assigned to either the intervention app (n = 25; 18 females; Mage = 21.36 years, SDage = 4.15 years) or the control app (n = 20; 18 females; Mage = 22.75; SDage = 4.41). The two primary outcomes were frequency of risky drinking and drinking-related harms, and the secondary outcome was frequency of protective behavioral strategies (PBS) use. All outcomes were measured at baseline and immediately post-intervention. Using the Enlight framework [1], usability was evaluated via structured one-on-one phone interviews with a subgroup of six participants from the intervention group (3 females; Mage = 19.5 years, SDage = 1.64). RESULTS: There was no significant reduction in the primary outcomes from baseline to post-intervention across the groups. For the secondary outcome, the application of PBS within drinking contexts increased at follow-up for those in the intervention group but not for control participants. End-users rated the app as highly usable but had some concerns with repetition of the app-recommended strategies. CONCLUSIONS: This intervention, designed to reduce risky drinking behaviors among young adults, was rated as highly usable and was shown to increase the application of harm minimization strategies within drinking contexts. While the intervention and its delivery show promise, it did not appear to mitigate risky drinking behaviors. Implications of this research and future directions are discussed. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This trial is registered at the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: BLINDED.



International journal of behavioral medicine






401 - 414




New York, N.Y.





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2019, International Society of Behavioral Medicine