Professor Dietze has received funding from Gilead Sciences Inc and Reckitt Benckiser for work unrelated to this study. The authors declare that they have no other competing interests.
CW lead the manuscript and was involved in study design, participant recruitment, intervention development, and lead all data collection and analysis, ML was the chief investigator, and was involved in study design, intervention development, development of both qualitative and quantitative data collection measures, refining of message content, and oversaw all data analysis. PMD was involved in study design, intervention development and refining of quantitative data collection tools. BC was involved in study design, development of qualitative data collection measures, and qualitative data analysis. All authors contributed to, reviewed and approved the final manuscript.
There are few effective strategies that respond to the widespread practice of risky single-occasion drinking in young people. Brief interventions, which involve screening of alcohol consumption and personalised feedback, have shown some efficacy in reducing alcohol consumption, but are typically delivered in clinical settings. Mobile phones can be used to reach large populations instantaneously, both for data collection and intervention, but this has not been studied in combination during risky drinking events
Our study investigated the feasibility and acceptability of a mobile-phone delivered Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) and brief intervention for young people during drinking events. Our participatory design involved development workshops, intervention testing and evaluation with 40 young people in Melbourne, Australia. The final intervention included text message prompts to fill in mobile-based questionnaires, which measured drinks consumed, spending, location and mood, with additional questions in the initial and final questionnaire relating to plans, priorities, and adverse events. Participants received a tailored feedback SMS related to their drinking after each hourly questionnaire. The intervention was tested on a single drinking occasion. Prompts were sent between 6 pm and 2 am during a drinking event, with one follow up at 12 pm the following day.
Participants reported being comfortable with hourly mobile data collection and intervention during social occasions, and found the level of intrusion acceptable; we achieved an 89 % response rate on the single occasion of testing. Participants were proactive in suggesting additional questions that would assist in the tailoring of feedback content, despite the added time burden. While we did not test the effectiveness of the intervention, participants reported value in the tracking and feedback process, with many stating that they would normally not be aware of how much alcohol they consumed in a night.
Findings suggest that the intervention was considered acceptable, feasible and novel to our participants; it now requires comprehensive testing and evaluation.