To support the free and open dissemination of research findings and information on alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. To encourage open access to peer-reviewed articles free for all to view.

For full versions of posted research articles readers are encouraged to email requests for "electronic reprints" (text file, PDF files, FAX copies) to the corresponding or lead author, who is highlighted in the posting.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Two Fully Automated Web-Based Interventions for Risky Alcohol Use: Randomized Controlled Trial

Excessive alcohol use is a widespread problem in many countries, especially among young people. To reach more people engaging in high-risk drinking behaviors, a number of online programs have been developed in recent years. Change Your Drinking is a German, diary-based, fully automated alcohol intervention. In 2010, a revised version of the program was developed. It is more strongly oriented to concepts of relapse prevention than the previous version, includes more feedback, and offers more possibilities to interact with the program. Moreover, the program duration was extended from 10 to 14 days.

This paper examines whether the revised version of Change Your Drinking is more effective in reducing alcohol consumption than the original version.

The effectiveness of both program versions was compared in a Web-based, open, randomized controlled trial with follow-up surveys 6 weeks and 3 months after registration. Participants were recruited online and were randomly assigned to either the original or the revised version of Change Your Drinking. The following self-assessed outcomes were used: alcohol use days, alcohol intake in grams, the occurrence of binge drinking and risky drinking (all referring to the past 7 days prior to each survey), and the number of alcohol-related problems.

A total of 595 participants were included in the trial. Follow-up rates were 58.0% after 6 weeks and 49.6% after 3 months. No significant group differences were found in any of the outcomes. However, the revised version was used by more participants (80.7%) than the original version (55.7%). A significant time effect was detected in all outcomes (alcohol use days: P=.002; alcohol intake in grams: P<.001; binge drinking: P<.001; alcohol-related problems: P=.004; risky drinking: P<.001).

The duration and complexity of the program played a minor role in reducing alcohol consumption. However, differences in program usage between the versions suggest the revised version was more attractive to participants.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail: