Journal Article

    A Text Message Intervention with Adaptive Goal Support to Reduce Alcohol Consumption Among Non-Treatment-Seeking Young Adults: Non-Randomized Clinical Trial with Voluntary Length of Enrollment

    JMIR mHealth and uHealth

    Published: February 2018


    Stand-alone text message–based interventions can reduce binge drinking episodes (≥4 drinks for women and ≥5 drinks for men) among nontreatment-seeking young adults, but may not be optimized. Adaptive text message support could enhance effectiveness by assisting context-specific goal setting and striving, but it remains unknown how to best integrate it into text message interventions.

    The objective of this study was to evaluate young adults’ engagement with a text message intervention, Texting to Reduce Alcohol Consumption 2 (TRAC2), which focuses on reducing weekend alcohol consumption. TRAC2 incorporated preweekend drinking-limit goal-commitment ecological momentary assessments (EMA) tailored to past 2-week alcohol consumption, intraweekend goal reminders, self-efficacy EMA with support tailored to goal confidence, and maximum weekend alcohol consumption EMA with drinking limit goal feedback.

    We enrolled 38 nontreatment-seeking young adults (aged 18 to 25 years) who screened positive for hazardous drinking in an urban emergency department. Following a 2-week text message assessment-only run-in, subjects were given the opportunity to enroll in 4-week intervention blocks. We examined patterns of EMA responses and voluntary re-enrollment. We then examined how goal commitment and goal self-efficacy related to event-level alcohol consumption. Finally, we examined the association of length of TRAC2 exposure with alcohol-related outcomes from baseline to 3-month follow-up.

    Among a diverse sample of young adults (56% [28/50] female, 54% [27/50] black, 32% [12/50] college enrolled), response rates to EMA queries were, on average, 82% for the first 4-week intervention block, 75% for the second 4-week block, and 73% for the third 4-week block. In the first 4 weeks of the intervention, drinking limit goal commitment was made 68/71 times it was prompted (96%). The percentage of subjects being prompted to commit to a drinking limit goal above the binge threshold was 52% (15/29) in week 1 and decreased to 0% (0/15) by week 4. Subjects met their goal 130/146 of the times a goal was committed to (89.0%). There were lower rates of goal success when subjects reported lower confidence (score <4) in meeting the goal (76% [32/42 weekends]) compared with that when subjects reported high confidence (98% [56/57 weekends]; P=.001). There were reductions in alcohol consumption from baseline to 3 months, but reductions were not different by length of intervention exposure. Conclusions
    Preliminary evidence suggests that nontreatment-seeking young adults will engage with a text message intervention incorporating self-regulation support features, resulting in high rates of weekend drinking limit goal commitment and goal success.

    JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2018 Feb. doi: 10.2196/mhealth.8530.