Alcohol misuse is a common, disabling, and costly issue worldwide, but the vast majority of people with alcohol misuse never access treatment for varying reasons. Internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (ICBT) may be an attractive treatment alternative for individuals with alcohol misuse who are reluctant to seek help due to stigma, or who live in rural communities with little access to face-to-face treatment. With the growing development of ICBT treatment clinics, investigating ways to optimize its delivery within routine clinic settings becomes a crucial avenue of research. Some studies in the alcohol treatment literature suggest that assessment interviews conducted pre-treatment may improve short- and long-term drinking outcomes but no experimental evaluation of this has been conducted. Further, research on internet interventions for alcohol misuse suggests that guidance from a therapist or coach improves outcomes, but more research on the benefits of guidance in ICBT is still needed.
This study is a 2X2 factorial randomized controlled trial where all of the expected 300 participants receive access to the Alcohol Change Course, an eight-week ICBT program. A comprehensive pre-treatment assessment interview represents factor 1, and guidance from a health educator represents factor 2. All participants will be asked to respond to measures at screening, pre-treatment, mid-treatment, post-treatment and 3, 6 and 12 months after treatment completion.
This study will provide valuable information on optimization of ICBT for alcohol misuse within routine clinic settings.