Project Details - Ended
- Grant Number:R21 HS023875
- Funding Mechanism:
- AHRQ Funded Amount:$299,999
- Principal Investigator:
- Project Dates:7/1/2015 to 6/30/2018
- Care Setting:
- Medical Condition:
- Type of Care:
- Health Care Theme:
Large numbers of underage students drink heavily, often in binges, which can lead to negative consequences such as blackouts, rape, HIV-related sexual risk-taking, academic failure, suicide, and violence. While interventions such as the Brief Motivational Intervention (BMI) have decreased alcohol misuse, widespread implementation of this intervention has been slow due to challenges and high costs of implementing and sustaining them. Motivational intervention is a therapeutic style with demonstrated effectiveness to reduce ambivalence, bolster motivation, and induce commitment to changing a behavior. Because smartphones (SPs) are ubiquitous among college students, they may offer a more efficient and cost-effective means to deliver an alcohol BMI than in-person interventions. In this project, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte developed and tested a SP application (app) designed to reduce risky drinking among college students.
The specific aims are of this project were as follows:
- Develop a SP application by adapting a BMI intervention to create the pBMI+SP using mHealth technology.
- Test the pBMI+SP feasibility and initial efficacy among heavy-drinking college students.
In stage one of the project, the team developed the pBMI+SP app application by adapting a proven in-person BMI intervention. Iterative testing and focus groups were conducted to identify needed modifications. The pBMI+SP was found to be acceptable with good usability and was determined to be a feasible intervention for targeting risky alcohol use among college students. In stage two, the team conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to test the efficacy of pBMI+SP where students participated in either the in-person BMI intervention or the app-based intervention. A comparison of change from baseline to 6 weeks between the two groups did not detect a statistically significant difference in alcohol use or alcohol-related consequences, indicating the app performed as well as the in-person BMI intervention.
The team concluded that a SP app designed to address risky alcohol use in college students may be effective for reaching a larger population than traditional in-person approaches. Reduced costs, less time to train staff, and decreased need for physical space make mobile health interventions a prime delivery method for alcohol interventions as compared to in-person interventions. The team plans to test the pBMI+SP app in a larger RCT and recommends modification of the app for use in other health issues, including risky sexual behavior, HIV risk reduction, smoking cessation, and obesity.